Note: This text was written in approx 1920s-1930's but many of the issues at stake are still relevant to today's reader.
Ever since the Day of Pentecost, when the Gift of Tongues startled the multitudes at Jerusalem, and the Gift of Divine Healing, conferred upon the early disciples, drew attention to the Gospel and attested it as coming from God, there have arisen repeatedly religious movements claiming the revival of these Pentecostal gifts.
Today many such movements are to be found, the United States of America furnishing the most of them. The most prominent Pentecostalist in America is Mrs. Aimée Semple McPherson of the Angelus Temple, Los Angeles, California. But of late the claim to Pentecostal gifts has also become prominent in this country. Principal George Jeffreys, who styles himself Founder and Leader of the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, is its chief exponent. The reader may be surprised that there are no quotations in this pamphlet from the writings of Principal Jeffreys, but he has not written any volumes setting forth his tenets and practices from which to quote. But his magazine advertises very prominently as one of their text books, The Gospel of Healing by A. B. Simpson, D.D., so we have taken this as setting forth the doctrines of the Pentecostalists. The movement in this country is spreading rapidly. Principal Jeffreys is gathering a large band of workers round him, many of whom he has ordained as pastors, and Foursquare Gospel Churches are started in various centres.
The claims made are so novel and startling that Christians on every hand are asking what it all may mean. If the claims are of God, they wish to come in for the blessing. If it is not of God, they ask for help that will give them a true judgment in the matter. The writer has been pressed to furnish something that will be a help. For a long time he felt reluctant to accede to these requests, but the time has come when he believes it is necessary to do so. He counts on the help of the Lord in this.
There were undoubtedly the Gifts of Healing and of Speaking with Tongues in the early church. The Scriptures give us ample confirmation of this. In regard to present-day claims, the question we have to ask is, DO THE TEACHING OF SCRIPTURE AND THE FACTS OF THIS MODERN MOVEMENT AGREE? If they agree, we can joyfully acknowledge the movement as of God, and throw ourselves unreservedly and wholeheartedly into it. But if there is a divergence between the Scriptural teaching on the subject and the facts of the movement, if that divergence is marked, and the movement is characterised by traits that Scripture manifestly condemns, then we may at once come to the conclusion that in the main it is not of God, and may be one of the latter-day deceptions, against which we are warned in the Word of God.
The Apostle Paul could appeal to his doctrine and manner of life (2 Tim. 3:10) as corresponding one with the other, placing him in contrast with evil men and seducers... deceiving, and being deceived (v. 13).
Here we have an infallible God-given test. We are on safe ground. For if the claim to a special infilling of the Holy Spirit of God is true, we should certainly expect the propaganda and lives of those so filled to be in close correspondence with the teaching of Scripture, which is indited by the same Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God will not teach one thing as doctrine, and something quite different as practice. He will not stultify Himself. We should therefore expect specially infilled believers to be very deeply taught in and obedient to the Word of God.
It is well to be clear as to what we must enquire into. There are undoubtedly
THREE INFLUENCES AT WORK IN THIS WORLD.
They can be described as
DIVINE influence is seen in the mighty power of the Spirit of God, in the wondrous happenings on the Day of Pentecost, the day when the church of God was formed upon the earth, in the formation of Christian assemblies, in the propagation of the gospel throughout the world, as seen in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the continuance of the testimony of God down the ages to the present time.
HUMAN influence is seen in natural power that men possess. There is the power of eloquence, logical powers of mind that can bring conviction, emotional powers that can sway men. There are powers of human influence in the parent, with the school-master, in every walk of life. There are powers resident in men that are best latent, such as hypnotism, mesmerism, auto-suggestion, thought-reading, which are more or less dangerous when called into active use. The reason why there are any natural powers in man that are dangerous to use lies in the fact that man is fallen, and if a man is not under the influence of the Spirit of God, he is open to come under sinister influence without being aware of it.
SATANIC influence is seen in the activities of Spiritism, Mormonism, Christian Science and in all the cults that deny the Deity, true Manhood and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as in the widespread indifference to spiritual matters, out-and-out infidelity and wickedness as practised all around us.
A little fuller description of these influences had best be furnished.
There is no need to enlarge on this. The Scriptures are our blessed text-book on the subject. The Divine influence is seen in the saintly lives of those who really come under its power.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Gal. 5:22-23)
History furnishes us with abundance of testimony to this. Perhaps the most pertinent example, as bearing upon our inquiry more directly, is that of Emile Coué. Without any pretence to being religious, he became one of the wonder-workers of the world. By dint of a strong personality, the trick of getting the patient to repeat the formula, I am getting better and better every day, working auto-suggestion for all it was worth, he claimed to perform miraculous healing. His consulting rooms were filled with the crippled, whilst their walls were adorned with the crutches that the grateful patients left behind as a testimony to their wonderful cures. And please remember that these cures were claimed without any appeal to spiritual power.
It is not a little remarkable that Coué died in his early sixties. Evidently his formula did not save him from comparatively an early death.
There are doctors who live in Harley Street, London, and its neighbourhood, who profess to cure patients by the help of hypnotic power. They are able to furnish many striking instances of their success.
It may surprise the reader to know that Miraculous Healing and Speaking with Tongues are practised today in ABSOLUTELY HEATHEN CIRLES. The late Dr. J.L.Nevius, for forty years a missionary in China, went out to that country a firm disbeliever in present-day demon-possession. Little by little as he was brought into touch with heathendom, he was reluctantly compelled to the belief that demon-possession of human bodies was a reality.
Like a doctor, who coming across a patient with all the symptoms clearly marked of a disease described in his medical books, has, therefore, no doubt as to the disease and its treatment, so Dr. Nevius found all the characteristics of demon possession, as given in the Scriptures, in heathen circles in China, and was therefore able to treat intelligently the cases that came under his notice.
He testifies that before ever the gospel came to China, and, therefore, before Bible teaching could have influenced the minds of the natives, they firmly believed in demon-possession. When the missionaries came, and the converts studied the Gospels, they found that the characteristics, marking demon-possession as given therein, so exactly tallied with their first-hand experience in the matter, that they had no difficulty in seeing the connection between the two.
Dr. Nevius describes case after case where demon-possessed persons made large incomes in the practice of miraculous healing, and how on conversion their power to cure ceased, and consequently their ability to make money, clearly indicating the Satanic source of their power. It reminds us of the celebrated case in Acts 16, where the damsel, possessed of a spirit of divination, was healed, and how at once her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone (v. 19).
Dr. Nevius gave years to the patient study of this subject, and produced a monumental book, Demon-Possession and Allied Themes, well worthy of' careful perusal.
Nor is he alone in this testimony, for many missionaries have given similar witness.
CONTRARY INFLUENCES CAN BE SEEN AT WORK SIDE BY SIDE.
It is well to see that more than one influence can be at work, otherwise we may be led astray. Take the case of Peter, rebuking the Lord on the occasion of His testifying to His coming death and resurrection (Matt. 16:21 -23). The Lord said to him,
Get thee behind Me Satan, thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (v. 23)
Here is plainly a mixture of influences. There was the divine love for the Lord in Peter's heart, the fruit of the Holy Spirit of God, and precious to the Lord. There was the natural impetuosity so characteristic of the man. And there was clearly, UNCONSCIOUS TO PETER, Satanic influence. The Lord detected this, and tracked it down to its source in thus addressing Peter.
This will help us to see that in many a deceit of Satan, there may be some element that looks like the fruit of the Spirit of God, and is, indeed so, for Satan can take advantage of what is of the Spirit of God to gain the ear of his dupes for that which will nullify what is of God. In this way we shall be wise to judge of a movement by considering ALL its features, and not to be led astray by one element in it that is good, and is not of Satan, but of God, which Satan tries to use for his own evil and bitter ends, but which God can and does use, spite of Satan and all his subtlety
Another case which is very pertinent to our enquiry is found in Philippians 1:14-17.
Many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife: and some also of good will: the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
Preaching Christ must indeed be of the Spirit of God. Paul would not have rejoiced if it were not so. But to preach it of envy and strife was to bring in a sadly contrary influence. Two influences were at work, at least, in this unhappy state of affairs. We may find out that Satan may use the very preaching of Christ, of the precious gospel, for his own evil end. He cannot deceive people unless he brings in something undoubtedly good in order to disarm suspicion. We may find a good gospel preached as part of the devil's deception. Not that the gospel is deception, but the devil may use it for deceptive purposes, and God may, and does use it spite of the devil.
We have now shown that there are three influences at work in this world, the Divine, the Natural, the Satanic, and that there may be a mixture of all three.
With this clearly in our minds, we may prosecute our enquiry. We must, however, fortify our position from Scripture. We must let Scripture form our minds on the subject.
Does Scripture give us warning as to the subtlety of Satanic deceptions? It clearly does. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
SCRIPTURAL WARNINGS OF SATANIC DELUSIONS.
The apostolic age had not long been on its way before we get the most solemn warnings on this subject.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel: for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Cor. 11:13-l5)
A man may look like an apostle of Christ, and the same time be an emissary of Satan. Could warning be clearer as to the subtlety of Satan? He has his ministers as well as God, and he will let them appear as very ministers of righteousness in order to deceive. Our only hope of detecting these frauds is to see if the characteristics of the Word of God are seen in the practices of these movements, and if they are not to give them a wide berth.
For example, take an utterly antichristian cult such as Christian Science. The Bible is read at all their public meetings. The unwary are likely to come to the conclusion that the cult, seeing it apparently exalts the Scriptures, must be a good one. But we know that they deny the very fundamentals of the Christian faith. They refuse the Deity of our Lord. They deny that His death was an atoning death. Their reading the Bible, and apparently paying homage to it, are but the devices of SatanSatan camouflaging himself as an angel of light.
Take Spiritism. Sometimes the dupes are exhorted to read the Bible and pray. This advice throws the victim off his guard. Spiritism must be good, says the unwary, if it gives such excellent advice. Does the devil love the Scriptures and prayer? No, he hates them with a deadly hatred, but if this advice will serve to secure his dupe and allay suspicion, it is well worth while, until the time comes when the mask can be safely thrown aside, and the poor victim landed into utter infidelity, both as to the Word of God and prayer.
We are warned that
We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:12)
Are we a match in the face of the subtlety of such foes? Not unless we cleave closely to the Scriptures, and are really subject to their teaching, and walk in the power of the Spirit of God.
Again we read of
The working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. (2 Thess. 2:9)
This last Scripture will prepare us to believe that Satan can imitate the Gift of Healing and the Gift of Tongues. We may be sure that Satan will imitate the good things that God gives us.
We will now proceed to give one or two examples of these signs and lying wonders.
EXAMPLES OF SATANIC DELUSIONS
Virgil (70-19 B.C.) in his celebrated poem, the Æneid, draws a vivid picture of the ancient pagan prophetess SPEAKING WITH TONGUES. He describes the quickly changing colour, dishevelled hair, panting breast, apparent increase of stature as the god, in reality a demon, draws near, filling the prophetess with what they called the divine afflatus, when the voice of the medium lost its mortal's ring. Note this was before the Christian era and in pagan circles.
Clemens Alexandrinus, one of the early fathers of the church, wrote,
Plato (born 427 B.C.) attributes a peculiar dialect to the gods, inferring this from dreams and oracle; and especially from demoniacs, WHO DO NOT SPEAK THEIR OWN LANGUAGE OR DIALECT, BUT THAT OF THE DEMONS WHO ARE ENTERED INTO THEM. (Miscellanies, Bk. 1 p.443)
We would draw the reader's very special attention to this testimony. Here is a heathen, living in the fifth century before the birth of Christ, knowing more of Spiritism than Sir Conan Doyle and Sir Oliver Lodge. He understands how the speaking with tongues may be the impersonating demon, using the tongue of the dupe, whose body he possesses. The demon knows a language that his victim does not know, and, therefore, using the tongue of his victim, there is the speaking with tongues. Let this example be kept well in mind as to the possible imitation of Pentecostal speaking with tongues. It is strange that a heathen should furnish us with this information, when intelligent men today are blind to these facts, even though they have the Word of God in their hands.
When we come to the Christian era, there arose in the second century, one, Montanus, who claimed to be a divinely inspired prophet. When speaking under the power of a spirit, he would blasphemously assert, I am the Lord God Omnipotent, who have descended into a man. He and his followers SPOKE WITH TONGUES, and professed that the prophecy of Joel, quoted by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost, was being fulfilled. The spread of Montanism in Asia Minor compelled the church to take action. The condemnation of the movement alas! only strengthened it. It gained adherents in Italy, France and North Africa, where Tertullian of Carthage was won over. A synod at Iconium in 235, and the council of Constantinople in 381 condemned it. By the beginning of the fifth century it began gradually to die out.
During the Reformation Period, between 1517 and 1648, there sprang up a sect in Germany, in which SPEAKING WITH TONGUES and MIRACULOUS HEALING were claimed. The outbreak was marked by the wildest excesses of immorality. Fanatics roamed through the woods in complete nudity. Polygamy was freely practised.
About 1650 arose the French Prophets in the Forest of Cevennes. They claimed apostolic gifts and SPOKE WITH TONGUES. Scenes of the wildest confusion were witnessed. They would roll on the floor, foam at the mouth, go into fits of holy laughter of long continuance. They professed that babes of fifteen months were filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. This movement was marked by gross immorality, and their places of assembly were designated as public places of prostitution.
The Mormons with their vile polygamy profess to SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and to practise divine healing.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, the so-called unknown tongues manifested themselves in the west of Scotland. The celebrated Edward Irving, minister of the Caledonian Church, Regent Square, London, heard of these happenings, became interested, and got into touch with the movement.
His church in London soon became the scene of tongues-speaking. Earnest Christians, who longed for a revival of Divine power in their midst at a time when things were very dead in the professing church, were attracted. But the bulk of his congregation did not sympathise with the form that things were taking, and in 1830 he was solemnly excommunicated by the Presbytery of London.
The Catholic Apostolic Church was the result of his influence, which exists in a moribund condition to this day. One of his best known associates was Mr. Robert Baxter, described by the late Sir Robert Anderson, who knew him personally, as a typical English parliamentary lawyer, reserved, slow of speech, and noted for soundness of judgment.
The writer has in his possession a reprint of Narrative of Facts, written by Mr. Baxter in 1832. In it he vividly describes how he and others, men and women of culture, were drawn into the movement, how it seemed as if they were, indeed, under the mighty power of God when they spoke in tongues. He testifies that the spirit of praise to the Lord was strong within them, of their ecstasy of soul, of the mighty uplifting of spirit that occurred. It seemed as if there could be no mistake. This must be the latter rain, this must be that which was spoken the prophet Joel.
Then he gives the painful account of how little by little he began to see the true character of the movement. Prophecies were uttered under the influence, as they supposed, of the Spirit of God. When the time came for them to be fulfilled nothing happened. Other things aroused his suspicion.
Baxter was an honest man, a true child of God, and in his anxiety God gave him deliverance from what he found out clearly was a latter-day delusion of Satan.
He uses language in describing his deliverance that lacks nothing in clearness and directness. Satan, as an angel of light, was behind the great delusion.
Indeed the whole work is a mimicry of the gifts of the Spirit the utterance of tongues, a mimicry of the gift of tonguesand so of the prophesyings, and all the other works of power. It is Satan as an angel of light, imitating, as far as permitted, the Holy Spirit of God. According to the degree of unfaithfulness of the individuals or congregations with which it is present, so I am persuaded is the degree of power and consequent deceit which is put forth. (Narrative of Facts, p.45)
The underlining of words in the above quotation is as it appears in Mr. Baxter's book. The extract itself is worth careful consideration. It is the product of a mind that had been genuinely deceived. He himself had SPOKEN WITH TONGUES repeatedly. He believed with all his soul that he had come in for the outpouring of the latter rain, that the fulfilment of Joel's prophecy had arrived, that he was indeed baptised with the Holy Spirit.
Was not his soul lifted up to a heavenly ecstasy? Was he not led to a deeper enjoyment of the Scriptures? Was he not led out in earnest prayer? He was. Were these things wrong? Yet he found that mixed up with them demoniacal power and agency were at work. In short, the movement, spite of good things connected with it, was a snare of Satan. Satan had depths in it of which at first he had no suspicion. But when things began to develop, such as the fanaticism of the movement, the holy laughter, the unfulfilled prophecies, etc., he was too sincere a Christian to be duped. Hence his deliverance. Note these manifestations were connected in his experience, not with faithfulness, but with unfaithfulness.
In the light of present-day happenings, this incident is well worth pondering over.
Irving himself promulgated blasphemous views of the Person of Christ, clearly not the result of the teaching of the Spirit of God, if he had received the special infilling, as he claimed. Such heretical teaching clearly shows the cloven foot, and reveals in a very distinct way whence the movement emanated.
America, the land of origin of so many antichristian sects, is overrun with Pentecostalists of various shades. They all sprang from a modest beginning. In the month of April, 1906, in a mission hall in Azusa Street, Los Angeles, California, a band of coloured folk had heard of a man in Kansas upon whom a remarkable power had fallen, and who was apparently speaking with tongues. Coloured people are naturally very excitable, and these folks in Los Angeles held nightly meetings, crying earnestly to God that the same manifestation might be theirs.
At last the power fell upon them. One after another of them experienced this strange possession, resulting in their pouring forth a torrent of words in an unknown tongue, which was hailed by them as the ushering in of another Pentecost.
This excited a great deal of attention. Mission workers, ministers, Christians of all kinds, flocked to enquire into these strange happenings. The meetings went on for months, and hundreds claimed to have received the power.
The movement quickly caught on and spread to other parts. It has travelled to Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, India, Australia and to many other parts.
Of late divisions have occurred in the movement, and we are treated to the unedifying spectacle of one section vigorously denouncing the other sections. They all claim to speak with tongues, but each section contends that their manifestations are the only genuine ones, and that the manifestations of their opponents are of the devil.
In the year 1907 there was at Sunderland an outburst of what was claimed as pentecostal gifts. The leaders in this were a clergyman of the Church of England and his wife, the Rev. and Mrs. A.A.Boddy.
A.T. Schofield, M.D., the well-known author, investigated this particular movement, and gives us his experience:
As some of my family had joined another movement of Speaking with Tongues' so rife in America, and I was writing a book on Christian Sanity, with which it seemed so seriously to clash, I determined to investigate it. Its chief exponent in England was Mr. Boddy, a clergyman of the highest repute, and vicar of the parish church of Bishopwearmouth for twenty years. I determined to go down there, and the vicar very kindly asked me to stay at his house. I told him that as I might have to write against the movement I would prefer an hotel, but he insisted on my coming to the vicarage, as he was as anxious for the truth as I was. When I arrived his wife welcomed me, and told me that her husband had just gone to the prayer-meeting in the Church Room. She herself had just cast the devil from a young curate of a very fashionable church. He had come to the town to enquire into the movement, but could not get from his hotel to the Church. He said his legs would not act! So that day in desperation he had got into a cab and was driven to the vicarage, and had now gone to the prayer-meeting. She had laid her hands on his shoulders, and first of all cast out the evil spirit. She then prayed for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and immediately he had begun to speak with tongues, and had gone to the meeting full of joy. I hastily ate my supper and followed him.
I have never heard such beautiful sounds as met my ear when I opened the door. Some seventy to a hundred people were on their knees and seemed to be crooning up and down the scale, sometimes loud and sometimes soft, and mostly in a plaintive minor key. These were no words, and the sound was of a number of Æolian harps in a breeze. I was told that this was the Tongue of Angels' as distinguished from that of men, which I should hear presently. Swayed by some common impulse they all arose suddenly and took their seats. Five or six then stood in different parts of the room and prayed simultaneously. I seated myself by the young clergyman, and soon he spoke with tongues, seemingly to become unconscious and in a sort of fit, rapidly gabbling a stream of incoherent sounds. I listened to him most attentively, and am convinced it was no language on earth. The rest were calmly singing hymns, and took no notice of him. After ten minutes he suddenly regained consciousness and joined in the hymn. A girl behind me was also gabbling unconsciously. A tall man near then suddenly rose, and poured out apparently a stream of the same gibberish.'
It seems however, that here I was wrong for in another part of the room a little missionary stood up saying that he had just returned from a branch of the upper Congo where a small tribe spoke the language they had just heard! The vicar then rose a most incongruous figure in such a scene, and said that though he could not speak with tongues, his two youngest children spoke fluently in Chinese. This I succeeded in having stopped. To see such a noble figure sanction such scenes filled me with distress. Mrs. Bodily then rose and declared that she had been speaking in tongues all the time, and would now tell us what she had said, and gave us a short discourse. After this there was less restraint, the proceedings became more exciting, and sometimes, to me, painfully ludicrous. The whole seemed to be an outburst of some form of hysteria; I certainly could not regard it as the work of the Holy Spirit, though without doubt this was the view taken by everyone in the room. (Behind the Brass Plate pp. 248-250)
More than one connected with this movement withdrew from it as discerning that the movement was not of the Spirit of God, and very little is heard of it today.
We have now placed before the reader some little account of movements that have sprung up from time to time, claiming to be the revival of Pentecostal gifts. In no case have we found that the movement can command the respect of a sober Christian mind, that is governed by the Word of God. The following remarks by one, who has made a very exact examination of the movements in America are well worthy of consideration.
The Rev. P.Wiseman of Canada writes,
If people without grace or power can speak in tongues, if a Mohammedan in his religious frenzy can speak in tongues, as is reputed he does; if a Mormon with his diabolical practices of polygamy can speak with tongues; if people can change their doctrines at will, and believe about as they like and still speak in tongues; then speaking in tongues is no evidence that one has the sacred experience received by the apostles and disciples on the Day of Pentecost. That which may be possessed without grace or power cannot be an evidence of either.
PRESENT-DAY CLAIMS TO THE REVIVAL OF PENTECOSTAL GIFTS.
We now come to the examination of claims to the revival of Pentecostal gifts, that are being forced upon our attention at this present time. For practical purposes we will confine our enquiries to those connected with the name of Mrs. Aimée Semple McPherson of America, and of Principal George Jeffreys in this country. Both of these use the expression,
THE FOURSQUARE GOSPEL
This is explained as, Christ as
- COMING KING.
It is taught that we have not got the full gospel unless there is carried with it healing for the body and baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the indispensable mark accompanying it of the miraculous gift of tongues. We need not take up the first and last of the four sides of the Foursquare Gospel. We are all agreed that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour, and that He is the coming King.
Now let it be clearly understood that we have put before the reader warnings from Scripture, and facts as to movements in the past, so that we can see clearly how Satan can imitate the work of the Spirit of God, how good can be mixed up with what is undoubtedly evil, how tongues and miraculous healing can be Satanic imitation.
All this will not prejudge what we have to enquire into, but will lead us to great caution in the matter. As we have said before, and we cannot emphasize its importance too much, we must put before the reader the teaching of the Spirit of God as given to us in the Scriptures alongside the facts of the movement. Is their exposition of the Scriptures correct on these points, and do their practices tally with the Word of God? Here we have a safe and infallible test. If these movements agree with the Word of God, we shall rejoice with all our heart, and throw ourselves into the movement with zest. If they do not, in the interests of truth, and of the Lord's people, the sooner they are exposed the better.
We have chosen Mrs. McPherson and Principal Jeffreys because they are linked up together. They have both adopted the title, Foursquare Gospel. Mrs. McPherson is advertised in the Elim Evangel, the official organ of Principal Jeffreys, as a Contributing Editor. Recently Mrs. McPherson has conducted a series of meetings in England and Scotland at the invitation of, and in co-operation with, Principal Jeffreys. So the two movements are linked up sympathetically together in that way.
THE GIFT OF HEALING
Let us now proceed to set forth what Scripture says on this subject, and see how far present-day claims agree with the same.
Of course there is no question but that the early church possessed the gift of healing. There is no question but that the Lord can give healing of the body today. His power is the same. The sick saint may call for the elders of the church, if they can be found, and they may anoint the sufferer with oil, and the prayer of FAITH shall save the sick, and he shall be raised up. Of that there can be no question. It is a pity that it is not more often done.
But the question is, Does Scripture warrant us in expecting these miraculous gifts to be in our midst today?
Examining Scripture it must be evident that the miraculous only occurred at special times and for special purposes.
THE MIRACULOUS WAS ALWAYS OCCASIONAL.
Take the Old Testament. More than two thousand years of the world's history rolled its course, and we have no instance of servants of God performing miracles. Abraham did not. Isaac did not. Jacob did not. There was plenty of need in the world, and there was power with God surely. Not till we come to the time of Moses do we read of miracles.
Why was Moses given the power to perform miracles? We believe it was because he stood on the threshold of a new beginning in God's ways. God was about to claim His redeemed people, and conduct them to the land that He had promised to Abraham. God gave Moses to perform these miracles so that he might be publicly attested by Divine power as the leader of God's people. When he was thus attested by the miracles in the land of Egypt before Pharaoh Moses did not go on performing miracles. With the exception of his procuring water by smiting the rock with his staff, we do not read of any miracles, unless it be the healing of Miriam. The miracles that Moses performed were all crowded into a few days, and after that with one or two exceptions we do not find him performing miracles. And Moses was one man among many thousands. Miracles were limited as to times and persons.
In a lesser way Joshua was attested as leader in the miracle of the falling down of the walls of Jericho. Joshua was on the threshold of a new beginning, viz., leading the people of God into the promised land.
We get no miracles of moment for a matter of about eight hundred years, till Elijah and Elisha come upon the scene. They did not perform miracles in the land of Judah, where the temple was, and the true worship of God, but in Israel that had broken loose from Judah, and had thrown off the worship of God, and was turned to idolatry. God gave His backsliding people a special testimony, but after that was rendered we do not find a continuance of miracles except an odd one of a minor nature here and there. There was nothing of a national and serial nature as in the cases of Moses and Elijah and Elisha.
We then pass on for about nine hundred years when there was nothing arresting in the way of miracles, till we come to the birth of Christ. We read of the Forerunner of Christ,
John did no miracle. (John 10:41)
Attention was pre-eminently focussed on the Lord. His birth was a miracle, but there is no record that He performed one miracle, healed one sick person, till the short life He lived on earth was nearing its end. Yet He was
Jesus Christ, the Same yesterday, and today and for ever. (Heb. 13:8)
His power was ever the same, but for thirty years out of thirty-three and a half, there is no record of His having performed miracles. But after His baptism His public ministry was attested by a constant stream of miracles.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy: and He healed them. (Matt 4:23-24).
That these miracles were the public attestation of who the Lord Jesus was, is seen in His answer to John the Baptist, who in prison, and in a desponding mood, sent the question to the Lord, Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another? (Matt. 11:3).
The Lord replied,
Go and show John again those things which ye do see and hear: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them. (Matt. 11:4-5)
Here the Lord plainly points to the miracles that He performed as proof of who He was, and of the mission that He had to perform in this world, as the One who had been foretold on the prophetic page as the only Hope of the blessing of God's people.
Then again the Lord chose twelve apostles, and sent them forth. Did He send them forth without credentials? No, He conferred powers on them that would attest that they were indeed the Divinely sent messengers of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The power of the King was with them.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Matt. 10:7-8)
Notice that the Lord only chose twelve men for this commission, and it falls into line with what we have previously pointed out, that it was connected with a special mission that needed credentials of no ordinary kind.
Again later the Lord chose seventy to go forth by twos into the places where He Himself was to come. Their commission was,
Into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are put before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. (Luke 10:8-9)
Notice that this is restricted to seventy men. Note, too, that the commission is much simpler than that given to the twelve. The twelve had power to raise the dead. This power is not given to the seventy. They were the special messengers of the Lord in His ministry when on earth.
These commissions are wrongly quoted by Pentecostalists as applying today. Dr. Simpson writes:-
During His life He sent out the twelve Apostles and then He sent out seventy as the forerunners of the whole host of the Christian Eldership... with full power to heal. And when He was about to leave the world, He left on record both these commissions in unmistakeable terms. (The Gospel of Healing p.16)
This last sentence has surely the meaning that these commissions are in force today. Then why do we not have the DEAD RAISED UP? Jesus Christ, the Same yesterday and today and for ever, the Pentecostalists are for ever triumphantly asserting. We agree with this statement with all our heart, but we do not agree that this verse means that gifts of healing belong to all those who receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as they assert.
We ask again, If their contention is true, why do they not raise the DEAD?
Further, why do they seize on a part of the commission, and not take it as a whole? The twelve were told emphatically that they were NOT to preach to the Gentiles, and yet the Pentecostalists preach to the Gentiles. They were told to go ONLY to the house of Israel, and the Pentecostalists do NOT observe this restriction. They were told to heal the sick, believer and unbeliever. Why do Pentecostalists confine their healing activities to believers only in face of this? They were told to provide neither gold nor silver nor brass in their purses. Yet Mrs. McPherson could engage a suite of rooms in the Hotel Cecil, London, and we know a very ample purse is needed for that.
We wish to emphasize the fact that the commission in the one case was given to twelve men and in the other to seventy, in both cases selected for SPECIAL service and given SPECIAL credentials. There is no warrant for men today claiming these commissions as applying to them, but if they do, let them at least be consistent, and take all the instructions, and act upon them. If ever there was a book full of the twisting of Scripture it is that textbook of the Pentecostalists, The Gospel of Healing. Will the special infilling of the Spirit be marked by such ignorance? We are warned against handling the Word of God deceitfully.
Then we come to the apostolic age. Miracles most markedly characterized the early days of Christianity. There was the outburst of tongues on the Day of Pentecost. We can well understand why this was so. It was a miraculous attestation of the new message that was given. The nation had rejected their Messiah. Its leaders stood charged with the basest crime this world has even seen. Yet the purpose and love of God were seen in that the only way of blessing for the nation lay through the death of the One they had rejected.
And further, the work of the Lord received a mighty impetus that day. The unknown tonguesunknown to the disciples who spoke themwere real tongues, known languages. The gospel was precious. Here were a few fishermen, ignorant and unlearned men, as the Bible describes them, with no language but their own, and that the Galilean patois. Was it any wonder that the Spirit of God, eager that the Gospel should be received and spread, communicated the good news through the agency of tongues? About three thousand souls were saved that day. No small result surely!
We have the miracle of the healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful of the Temple. The palsied Æneas was instantly healed. Dorcas was raised from the dead through Peter. Peter was miraculously released from prison. They brought the sick into the streets, and laid them upon beds and couches so that Peter's shadow might fall upon them. We are told,
And they were healed EVERY ONE. (Acts 5:16)
It was not a question of a selected few. It was not a sine qua non that the healed must be believers. No tickets were issued to a special class. We can understand how this honour was put upon Peter. It is alluded to in Hebrews 2:3-4,
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?
Does this passage not indicate that miracles were the attestation of the Divine message, and once that was recognised, the miracles should cease to be characteristic? We shall find this thought supported by Scripture as we proceed. But Peter stood at the front of the new movement on the Day of Pentecost, and he was specially singled out as the worker of miracles.
The Apostle Paul, too, as the leader in this new movement, specially commissioned to preach among the Gentiles, as Peter was to the Circumcision, was singled out in a remarkable way also. The manner of his conversion and his restoration of sight were both alike miraculous. He could say,
I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all. (1 Cor. 14:18)
He healed the cripple at Lystra; he raised the dead Eutychus; he shook off the viper that bit him at Melita, and no harm resulted in fulfilment of the Scripture,
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. (Mark 16:18)
Special honour was put upon this chosen vessel of the Lord. We read,
And God wrought SPECIAL MIRACLES by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11-12)
But did miracles continue to characterize the ministry of Paul? There was undoubtedly an outburst of arresting miracles at the beginning of the careers of the Apostles Peter and Paul, but did they continue?
There was no lack of power with Paul, yet we know that he himself had some infirmity in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him, something that made his bodily presence weak and his speech contemptible, something that he prayed thrice might be removed, but he was NOT healed.
He advised Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach's sake and his often infirmities, and no longer to drink water, He did NOT heal him.
He left Trophimus at Miletum sick. He did NOT heal him.
Epaphroditus was sick, nigh unto death. It was through his zeal for Christ's service that he was thus laid low. Surely here was a case for healing. But Paul did NOT heal him. He recovered, but in the manner sick people generally recover.
The Apostle John hoped that Gaius might be restored to health. He did NOT heal him.
A great point is made by the present-day alleged healers that the sick, whom they anoint for healing, must be believers. But in the Scriptures it is remarkable that there are only one or two cases of a Christian being healed. Blinded by the light above the brightness of the sun on the day of his conversion, three days later Ananias was used of God to the restoration of the sight of Saul of Tarsus. The cripple of Lystra had faith to be healed. Dorcas was raised from the dead. Paul was not poisoned by the viper bite. There was a stream of miracles, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, following the Day of Pentecost, but towards the latter part of the book there is but an odd case recorded here and there. The public attestation of the reality of Christianity by miracles ceased when the work, that the miracles were given for, was accomplished.
We may well ask the modern healer why this should be so in the face of their assertion that the gift of healing is the normal thing today, that it is as much in the atonement as the forgiveness of sins, and that they do not profess to heal unbelievers, though the One who is the Same yesterday and today and for ever did? If the atonement is not intended for the unbelievers, for whom is it?
It might be asked too, How was it that in Elisha's time there were many lepers in Israel, and yet not one was cleansed, but Naaman the Syriannot even one Israelite?
TO SUM UP. Scripture clearly shows that the miraculous in the Old Testament was confined to one little nation, it was not universal; to a few individuals, it was not general; to particular epochs, it was not continuous; and when that which it was intended to effect was reached, it ceased.
In the New Testament in the time of our Lord, we find again the miraculous was confined to the same little nation, to a few individuals, the Lord Himself, the twelve and the seventy, upon whom He conferred power, but in no way was the miraculous general.
In the time of the Apostles, we find they had miraculous gifts, and that the Holy Spirit of God conferred gifts on individuals, not generally, as witness the testimony of 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. We do not find the believers generally having these gifts, and they received the Holy Spirit without necessarily receiving special gifts. We find Peter, Paul, Stephen, Philip and Barnabas doing miracles, but the testimony is that the miraculous was confined to the few, it was not universal, it was for distinct purposes. It was not promised anywhere in Scripture to be continuous.
The miraculous gifts have often been likened to the church bells that call the congregation to the service, and once that is accomplished, they are silent. We believe from the testimony of Scripture that the miraculous gifts were the attestation in a wonderful way of the Divine message, and as soon as that attestation was effected, they ceased.
Doubtless after the rapture of the Church, and when the new dispensation of the millennium will be ushered in, there will be a revival of miraculous happenings, and the time for the fulfilment of Joel's prophecy will arrivea prophecy which received a partial fulfilment on the Day of Pentecost, but whose prime fulfilment waits the coming day of blessing for God's ancient people, and through them of the whole world.
Let us now examine in some little detail the claims of the faith-healers.
IS HEALING OF THE BODY IN THE ATONEMENT?
To begin with they all insist that healing of the body is as much in the atonement as healing of the soul. The great text that is relied on for this statement is Isaiah 53:4,
Surely He bath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
It does not give confidence in this movement when we find Scripture wrested from its true meaning and made to fit in with a theory. For instance The Elim Publishing 0ffice publishes a book, The Gospel of Healing by A. B. Simpson, D.D., so evidently it sets forth their beliefs.
Commenting on Isaiah 53:4, he says,
The translation in our English version does very imperfect justice to the original. The translation in Matthew 8:17, is much better: Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.'
The literal translation would be Surely He hath borne away our sicknesses and carried away our pains.'
Any person who will refer to such a familiar commentary as that of Albert Barnes on Isaiah, or any other Hebrew authority, will see that the two words here used denote sickness and pain, and that the words for bear' and carry' denote not mere sympathy, but actual substitution and the removal utterly of the thing borne.
Therefore as He has borne our sins, Jesus Christ has also BORNE AWAY AND CARRIED OFF our sicknesses; yes, and even our pains, so that abiding in Him, We may be fully delivered from both sickness and pain. Thus by His stripes we are healed'.
Thus the ancient prophet beholds in vision the Redeemer coming first as a great Physician, and then hanging on the cross as a great Sacrifice. And thus the evangelists have also described Him; for three years as the Great Healer, and then for six hours of shame and agony, the Dying Lamb. (pp. 12-13)
When Dr. Simpson says that the words, carry and bear denote actual substitution and the removal utterly of the thing borne he makes an untrue, false assertion. This is a very serious matter when the subject is of such vital importance. To found a theory on a twisted verse is not the work of the Spirit of God. The late Dr. Simpson was a doctor of Divinity, and ought to have known how to handle the Hebrew authorities he refers to. If he were still alive, he could only have escaped the charge of dishonesty and leading people astray, by accepting the charge of culpable negligence.
Take the two words, carry and bear. Here are two instances of the use of the very same words in the original in the very same book of Isaiah.
Elam BARE the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen. (Ch. 22:6)
Be ye clean; that BEAR the vessels of the Lord. (Ch. 52:11)
Even to hoar hairs will I CARRY you. (Ch. 46:4)
They CARRY him [viz., the idol], and set him in his place. (Ch. 46:7)
It is very plain that the words here cannot by any stretch of fancy mean substitution.
But it may be urged, Does not the word bare in 1 Peter 2:24, carry the thought of substitution? We read,
Who His own self BARE our sins in His own body on the tree.
We answer that the word, BARE, in that verse does undoubtedly mean substitution. The word used in the Greek is anapher to bear upward. Thayer, in his Greek lexicon, explains anapher as meaning to bear sins up on the cross in order to expiate them by suffering death.
The same word is used in Hebrews 9:28.
Christ was once offered to BEAR the sins of many.
But when we come to the passage in Matthew 8:17, where it says,
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and BARE our sicknesses,
the word used is not anapher, to bear upward, but another word altogether, bastaz, to bear, take up, carry. This word is often used, but always in the sense of the ordinary act of carrying as of a burden, never in a sacrificial sense as anapher is. It is used, for instance, in Galatians 6:2,
BEAR ye one another's burdens,
where it cannot mean substitution. Now sickness and infirmities and death are not sins; they are the effects, or consequences, of sin. The blessed Saviour
Offered one sacrifice for SINS. (Heb. 10:12)
Having done so, He has the power to remove the effects, both of sickness and death, and will do so completely in the end. But nowhere in Scripture is healing said to be in the atonement.
What reliance can we put upon the whole movement when one of its chief tenets depends upon a dishonest handling of the Scriptures. Nor is this an isolated case as we shall see further on.
Moreover in the case that we have before us, Scripture itself tells us the meaning of the passage in Isaiah.
When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick; That IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matt. 8:16-17)
Here we are told very distinctly how and when the Scripture in Isaiah was fulfilled. It was NOT fulfilled on the cross. It WAS fulfilled in the actual deeds of healing that He performed when here on earth. The Scripture just quoted says this as clearly as possible.
See what really evil doctrine Dr. Simpson committed himself to, as also the Foursquare Gospelites in receiving such teaching. Dr. Simpson insists that the words, bear and carry have the meaning of ACTUAL SUBSTITUTION and the removal utterly of the thing borne, and further he acknowledges that this was carried out during the three years in which He dispensed this healing, whilst atonement for sin was made at the cross.
What is the meaning of this? According to Dr. Simpson the atonement was completed in two parts, one taking three years to perform, the other six hours. During those three years there was no bloodshedding, no forsaking by God as on the cross. During those three years the Lord walked in the unclouded favour of God, and heaven again and again testified to this.
Those three years, according to Dr. Simpson, to be consistent, constituted a BLOODLESS ATONEMENT, an atonement without death. Surely this is heretical teaching that no intelligent Christian would uphold. It is a very serious twisting of Scripture.
Is this the mark of the special infilling of the Spirit of God? We are certain that it is not.
Yet Dr. Simpson with strange inconsistency, says,
Thus our healing becomes a great, redemption right, which we simply claim as our purchased inheritance through the blood of His cross. (The Gospel of Healing, p. 32)
Here Dr. Simpson does connect the healing of the body with the cross, but see what it leads to. If the healing of the soul and the healing of the body are both secured in the atonement, it ought to follow that both would be received at the same time and in the same manner.
Even Pentecostalists preach that forgiveness of sins is not of works, not of human attainment, but by simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If the healing of the body is in the atonement, to be consistent the believer should receive the healing of the body as well as of the soul on the same grounds, on the same principle, at the same moment, even in the act of faith in the Saviour.
But is this so? Dr. Simpson will teach with one breath that healing of the body is in the atonement that
Everything that comes through Christ must come as grace. There can be no works mingled with justifying faith. Even so, our healing must be wholly of God, or not of grace at all. If Christ heals He must do it alone. This principle ought to SETTLE THE QUESTION of using means' in connection with faith for healing. (The Gospel of Healing, p. 37)
Yet in the next breath he makes the healing of the body a matter of ATTAINMENT, and a question of spiritual growth. We read,
Healing will often be gradual in its development, as the spiritual life grows and faith takes a firmer hold of Christ. (The Gospel of Healing, p. 42)
It would be just as logical to say that forgiveness of sins is gradual in its development, depending on the growth of the spiritual life. The contradiction is serious indeed.
Continually this author stultifies himself. His book is the reverse of clear reasoning. He has a wrong theory, and in order to support it is obliged to twist Scripture, saying one thing on one page and contradicting himself on another page.
He says if Christ heals, He alone must heal, and that this settles the question of means. Yet he says,
If healing is to be sought by natural means,' let us all get the best results of skill and experience. (The Gospel of Healing, p. 38)
But if his former statement is true, it would be as sinful and stupid to go to a doctor for healing as to go to a doctor for forgiveness of sins. If healing is in the atonement we insult God by going to a medical man for what is gained for us alone, as he claims, by the work of Christ.
Then a further thought will expose the wickedness of this teaching. Take the case of the Corinthian believers, who were turning the Lord's supper into an orgy of eating and drinking. The Lord intervened in chastening grace. We read,
He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we should judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1 Cor. 11:29-32).
Here very plainly the sickness put upon those erring saints was put upon them BY THE LORD. If the healing of the body, as of the soul, lies in the atonement, to put sickness upon the saint would be as comprehensible as putting some of their sins back upon them. We remember how Dr. Simpson, pressing the theory that the atonement includes healing of the body, said that it denoted
Actual substitution, and the removal UTTERLY of the thing borne.
And yet here, if this theory were true, the Lord Himself would be going back on the atonement in putting upon the believer the sickness He had atoned for and UTTERLY borne away. Does the Lord ever put sin upon the believer? Would that not be the breaking of His plighted word, and the very undoing of the atonement? And, if the healing of the body is in the atonement, it would be a monstrous thing for the Lord to place sickness upon those Corinthian believers.
It is true that sickness and disease are the effects of sin, and that if sin had not been atoned for at the cross, God could not righteously put away the effects of it, as He is pleased to do sometimes for His people today, and which He will do on a universal scale, abolishing even death itself, when
All taint of sin shall be removed,
All evil done away:
And we shall dwell with God's Beloved,
Through God's eternal day.
Surely if the healing of the body lay in the atonement, in the way that Dr. Simpson, Mrs. McPherson and Principal Jeffreys teach, we should expect it to be taught of all places in the Epistle to the Romans, where the gospel is unfolded in detail and with great precision. But there is not one single word in that Epistle to support this theory. Please make a special note of this. On the contrary, believers are said to be in a groaning creation, and they themselves groaning within themselves,
Waiting for the adoption, to wit, the REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY. (Romans 8:23)
We know that this redemption of the body will take place at the second coming of Christ, when
The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:16-17)
The effects of sin will then be for ever, removed.
The redemption of the body is future according to Paul; it is present according to Dr. Simpson and Principal Jeffreys. Which shall we believe? It is an evil system that twists Scripture in this way to fit an unscriptural theory.
Mrs. McPherson works on similar lines to Dr. Simpson. She preaches a sermon, A Double Cure for a Double Curse. She affirms that Satan through the fall brought in the double curse of sin and sickness, and that the Lord in His atonement brought in the double cure of Salvation and Healing. But in an utterly unwarrantable way she divides the atonement into two parts. She states that the sins of the believer are atoned for at the cross, which is most blessedly true, but goes on with the outrageous statement that the scourging of the blessed Lord by Pilate atoned for our sicknesses.
She says in her sermon,
Was He whipped that my many sins might be washed away?
No, child, the blood of the cross was sufficient for that.
Then, why did they pluck the beard from His face and beat Him with cruel staves?
No, child, the blood was sufficient for that.
Then why did they whip Him so?
Why, child, do you not know, the meaning of that lash, the cruel blows of the smiter's scourge?
Twas thus He bore our suffering, and by His stripes ye are healed... At the whipping post He purchased your healing, bore your suffering and pain.
Mrs. McPherson goes to an isolated passage in the Old Testament, twists it from its obvious meaning, and builds her theory on a mangled and mutilated verse. There is not one line in the New Testament that she can give to support her views. Mrs. McPherson has no right to cut the verse she quotes in two, and assign two parts to the atonement. We read,
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. (Isa. 53:5)
The verse clearly presents one atonement and one only, not one atonement in two parts. The wounding, the bruising, the chastisement, the healing by stripes, were all accomplished in the one act of atonement at the cross. That there is such a thing as healing of the soul as well as of the body, the following Scripture will prove:
Lord, be merciful unto me; HEAL my soul; for I have sinned against Thee. (Ps. 41:4)
Mrs. McPherson twists Isaiah 53:5 in order to forward her propaganda. She teaches one atonement by blood and another atonement by the lash. It is the undermining of the gospel, and needs to be exposed and resisted. Is this the fruit of the special indwelling of the Holy Spirit that she claims?
Further, if the atonement covers the healing of the body, not only should the believer receive bodily healing, but he should receive it like the forgiveness of sins, once and for all. It should preclude his ever having the slightest ailment, and he should never die. Sickness is one of the effects of sin. Death is an effect of sin. Senile decay is an effect of sin, but the Pentecostalists grow old exactly like other people andDIE.
We note that Principal Jeffreys claims to give the blind their sight. We should expect then that none of the Ministers of the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance would wear spectacles. But we notice that in a book describing his work, George Jeffreysa Ministry of the Miraculous, there are five pages of photographs of ninety-three male and female ministers, and out of that number eleven have spectacles. This is a fairly high proportion, for the ministers, with the exception of two or three, are apparently young men in their twenties, or early thirties, whilst two or three look mere boys.
In passing we noticed that Principal Jeffreys' photograph appears no less than fifty-six times in the book. In fact it is one long adulation of a man, so unlike the spirit of John the Baptist, who said,
He must increase, I must decrease.
We will now proceed to examine the methods employed in healing, and the genuineness of the results claimed.
When we come to the actual practices of these healers we find a great difficulty.
They quote with great insistence the verse,
JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY AND TODAY, AND FOR EVER. (Heb. 13:8)
But they draw completely false deductions from it. They teach that because the Lord healed when upon earth, that being the Same today, He must heal therefore through His people, and what He did when on earth they can do through His power, through the enduing of the Holy Spirit.
To see how that verse occurs in the Scriptures is to see how thoroughly Pentecostalists twist it for the support of a theory. We read,
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY, AND TODAY, AND FOR EVER. (Heb. 13:7-9)
The Lord Jesus is presented here as the Object of the believer's contemplation. Not a word is said as to healing power being conferred. Moreover, the way they use the verse proves too much, even for them. The Lord raised the DEAD. Why is it, if He is the Same today according to Pentecostalists, that the dead are not now raised? Take the case of Malchus' ear. Peter in his zeal for his Master cut off this man's ear. We read of the Lord,
And He touched his ear, and healed him. (Luke 22:51)
Here is a test for the Pentecostalists. If they press that the Lord is the same today in the matter of His exercising His power in healing through the agency of His people, they must be prepared to go the whole way. When they can raise the dead, and restore limbs and organs that have been severed from the human body, then we will begin to believe in their divine mission. Malchus' ear is a challenge to them.
We could comment on many Scriptures that are twisted into fantastic meanings, but space forbids. But we do insist, that if what they claim is true, that they have a special infilling of the Holy Spirit, surely that ought to carry with it the power to rightly divide the Word of truth, and to shun these profane and vain babblings.
The further we go in this enquiry, the more clearly do we see that the truth of Scripture and the teaching of Pentecostalists are not the same, and that the practices of the movement are condemned by the Word of God.
METHODS OF HEALING
The Scriptural method is given to us in James 5:14-15,
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him.
But this method will not suit lovers of the spectacular. It will not draw the crowds. It will not bring in the money.
What do we find today? Pentecostal healing meetings are conducted pretty much as follows. The service is begun by the singing of catchy lilting jazz-like choruses accompanied by piano, violin, guitars, as the case may be. In the case of Principal Jeffreys' Easter meetings in the Royal Albert Hall, London, there was a choir of nearly 2,000 voices. Is this like the methods employed by the early disciples, who HAD the pentecostal gifts without a doubt?
The singing goes on, the catchy choruses are repeated again and again, till the audience is excited, and emotional. Such methods go down with the crowds. Mass-suggestion is a well-known psychological modus operandi.
No wonder the crowds flock. The entertainment is equal to the music hall and cinema without having to pay for the seats. The following extract is culled from a volume, written by a Foursquare Gospeller, and is supposed to be a point in their favour.
An experienced, well-travelled man, who is also a full graduate in arts, and has been a stage manager, came to one of the services, and was so deeply impressed that he said, Only from the entertainment point of view it is the best show in London. It is the real article. So, instead of going the usual round, I went twice to the Surrey Tabernacle [where Pastor Jeffreys was conducting the Services], and gave to the collection what I intended to pay for enjoyment and recreation elsewhere. And it was worth it.' (Miracles of today, p.8).
What an absolute contrast to the real methods of the Holy Spirit. One is ashamed to think of the prostitution of spiritual things as indicated by the above extract. Surely to print that as a commendation is to glory in their shame.
Perhaps it will be worth reproducing, as exposing the system, the advertisement of Mrs. McPherson's Sunday services in the Angelus Temple, Los Angeles, as given in the cover of her own magazine.
10.3012.30 Sunday morning Devotional Service conducted by AIMÉE SEMPLE McPHERSON.
Children's Orchestra, under direction of Mrs. Helen McNaughton.
Angelus Temple Choir, under direction of Gladwyn N. Nichols.
Thomas Johnson, Soloist.
Esther Fricke Green at Console of Angelus Temple Organ.
2.304.30 Sunday Afternoon Deeper Teaching Sermon by AIMÉE SEMPLE McPHERSON.
Angelus Temple Choir.
Silver Band, under direction of Gladwyn N. Nichols.
Foursquare Choir, under direction of A. Watson Argue.
Angeles Temple Organ.
6.407.0 Sacred Concert by the Silver Band.
7.08.0 Evangelistic Musical Hour.
8.010.0 Evangelistic Service, conducted by AIMÉE SEMPLE McPHERSON, assisted
by A. Watson Argue.
Angel us Temple Choir.
10.011.0 Organ Recital of Esther Fricke Green and assisting artists.
Comment is needless. It invites condemnation by all who know anything of the truth of the Word of God.
When the audience has been whipped up to a state of red-hot emotion, the sick and crippled are invited to come to the healer. The emotional singing is kept up. No one can hear what the healer says to the sick. Hallelujahs go strong.
Is this like sending for the elders of the church to the home of the sick person, and quiet, fervent prayer, the prayer of faith being offered up?
It is just this spectacle of healing that constitutes a great draw to the services.
But even then we find things different to the way the Lord healed, which these Pentecostalists profess to repeat. He healed them ALL. He did not ask, who were believers, and who were not. Yet in Miracles of today we read,
Pastor [Stephen] Jeffreys proclaims with no uncertain voice: If there are any of you coming for Divine Healing, who have not given your lives to Christ, my strong advice is, Go to the best doctor you can find, explain your case and accept his treatment. God bless him, and may he do you good: but don't come here till you are converted. (p.50)
And though they say healing of the body is the atonement, here we are told that sinners must not come for it. If it is in the atonement what an insult to the Lord to tell sinners to go to the doctor. If the doctor cures his unconverted patients he gives them, according to Pentecostalists, what is the atonement, yet they remain unconverted and on the broad road. Healing without forgiveness, and yet they say both are in the atonement.
The Executive Secretary of the Bible Extension League of the Pacific Coast has carefully examined the whole Pentecostal movement as headed up under the leadership of Mrs. Aimée Semple McPherson. The following is an extract from his writings on the subject.
I have seen several hundred go on to the McPherson platform for healing. Each one had to pass an examination and receive a ticket. Many fail to pass... I have seen the difficult cases turned away! Why?... Why were the difficult cases turned away?
The Rev. R.P.Shuler, a Los Angeles minister, who knows Mrs. McPherson's work at first hand, and who has enquired into its genuineness very diligently, and whose testimony is supported by other local ministers of repute, writes:
Recently at a great healing service, conducted by Dr. Price, a disciple of Mrs. McPherson, more that 700 came for healing. He and his helper by spiritual discernment' selected 40 to be healed.
Think of Jesus and His disciples turning back more than 650 pleading people, who had faith enough to come and present themselves for healing. (McPhersonism, p. 64)
The Lord healed them ALL. He turned none back. What a contrast to the Divine methods these present-day healers adopt.
Then when the sick and crippled are before them what is the method of healing?
In George Jeffreys, a Ministry of the Miraculous, the author has given a press account of some meetings held by Principal Jeffreys, as to the way the healing service was conducted. The account says,
The Pastor prays with each sufferer, and lays his hand on their head, and usually the person prayed for seems to stiffen out and fall prostrate, lying on the ground in a State of semi-consciousness. (p. 180)
This is given without any challenging of the description, so we may take it as correct. Another unchallenged press account says:
After repeated singing of Revivalist hymns, Pastor George Jeffreys began healing the sick. A woman of 35 years of age came before the Pastor. He put his thumb on her ears, and his fingers at the back of her head, and held them there, once shouting Hallelujah.' A few seconds went, and then the woman fell back stiffly, showing every sign of losing consciousness. A minute passed, and there rang through the hall three screams. She had been cured of deafness, and the noise which she had heard, although almost nothing in volume, was enough to cause her acute pain. (pp. 184-185)
An eye-witness writes of Pastor George Jeffreys' mission at Bournemouth :
I have seen much of the movement connected with the so-called Foursquare Gospel, and the more I see the more am I convinced it is another gospel: which is not another.' There may be some show of healing, but it is not the power of God,' and does not last. Personally I have not been able to trace one authentic case of healing, and firmly believe the entire movement is of Satan. When down at Bournemouth I saw hundreds go under the power,' but not one suffering from malignant disease was healed. I believe the power is hypnotism, magnetism or mesmerism. It is a lamentable failure if claimed to be the power of God.
One experienced Christian worker, who attended Pastor Stephen Jeffreys' meetings in the Colston Hall, Bristol, told the writer that he was convinced that the power was hypnotism. Another eye-witness said that the Pastor would take the head of the sufferer in his hands, jerk the head this way and that for a moment or two, and then the person would fall stiffly to the floor, more or less unconscious. The testimony printed by themselves as to Principal George Jeffreys' methods points the same way.
Does not this testimony point to hypnotism? The Scriptures instruct the elders to anoint sufferer with oil, and pray, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and he shall be raised up. Nowhere in any description of healing is there manipulation of the back of the head by the healer. It is a well-known fact that manipulating the back of the head is one of the ways that hypnotists practise to bring about the cataleptic state.
When Peter cured the lame man sitting in the Gate Beautiful of the Temple by the power of the name of Jesus Christ, we read that he took him by the hand and lifted him up, and that the cripple immediately leaped up and walked, praising God. There was no handling the back of the head, and falling to the ground in an unconscious state.
The Lord told the palsied man at the Pool of Bethesda to rise, take up his bed and walk, and the man immediately did so. He was not manipulated at the back of the head, and struck down in a cataleptic condition.
ARE THE REPORTED CURES GENUINE?
And how do these cases of healing stand enquiring into? The writer was once in the company of a young woman, who is connected with one of these healing cults. She claimed to have been miraculously healed. Yet she looked the picture of frailty, and her poor body excited his pity for it was a mass of deformity. If the Lord had healed her, it surely would have been done perfectly. It is pitiable to see souls thus deceived.
A case has come before the writer's personal knowledge. A young woman went to a healing meeting in Bristol. She went in irons and supported by a stick. She was healed. Yet a few days later she was seen, the irons on her legs, the stick supporting her, hobbling painfully along, assisted by a friend. Was she healed, or only galvanized into the appearance of it under excitement?
The cures advertised by this healing cult are no more wonderful than the claims of the Christian Science, healers of the Spiritists, of the Mormons, of the Dowieites, etc. Do they perform their miracles of healing by the power of the Spirit of God?
The Rev. Mr. Shuler says:
Undoubtedly Emile Coué has rendered humanity a genuine service in discovering the actual philosophy by which tens of thousands have been deceived. Christian Science is a system of constant, continuous and persistant registration of an idea on the sub-conscious mind until that idea becomes a conviction. Say you are better till you are well, is Mr. Coué's way of putting it. Say you are not sick at all, until you are well is Mrs. Eddy's formula. Say Jesus heals youHallelujah!until you are well, is Mrs. McPherson's constant instruction in her healing hours, she bids you continue to say it, lest you lose your healing. All alike register at the same placethe sub-conscious mind. Coué is frank enough to say so. [He made no claim to divine healing.] Mrs. McPherson has the tremendous advantage, however, of bringing the Divine to her aid and her results are just as much more spectacular than Coué's as the emotions kindled by religion are more convincing than the dead calm on the face of the cynic. Coué is almost cold-blooded. Mrs. McPherson works at white heat. Note that Mrs. McPherson keeps her hallelujah' and praise the Lord' going at double speed. They have a tremendous psychological effect, when you are dealing with the sub-conscious mind. Thus certain people may come to a condition of ecstasy and almost marvellous results be achieved. (McPhersonism, pp. 77-78).
The following testimony is very conclusive.
Dr. Price has become an evangelist of almost as startling pretensions as those assumed by the woman [Mrs. McPherson] who discovered him. Several months ago he conducted a great campaign in Vancouver, B.C. Following this campaign, the Christian forces of that city met and appointed a commission to investigate the results. That report is before us as we write. The commission was composed of eleven ministers, eight Christian physicians, among whom were the most prominent specialists in Vancouver, three university professors and one eminent member of the legal fraternity. Several months of painstaking investigation, and several investigators working constantly, finally produced the facts, and they are most startling. (McPhersonism, pp. 122-123).
They were as follows:
350 eases of healing were claimed.
39 of the cases died within six months of the diseases they were supposed to be cured of.
5 of the cases went insane.
301 of the 350 cases were found at the end of six months to have received no benefit, many frankly acknowledging that It was so.
5 were reported to be actually cured, but they suffered from functional ailments, that responded to mental treatment.
And what were the spiritual effects of this deception? The Rev. Mr. Shuler testifies that
Scores of people who went for healing, professed absolute faith, but were not healed, and are now bitterly antagonistic to the Christian religion. Indeed it was discovered that the campaign upset and overturned the faith of literally hundreds of Christian people, whose expectations for their poor mortal bodies were not met. (McPhersonism, p. 123)
Is this, we ask in amazement, the work of the Holy Spirit of God? Is it not rather the work of the devil, a latter-day delusion that we are warned against, when even the very elect will be deceived?
We are sure that the ministers and medical men of Vancouver would have been rejoiced had they found that the healings were indeed the result of the power of God. They would have been inhuman to the last degree, if it were not so. But when people get infatuated with certain ideas they will not believe reliable testimony. They raise the cry of persecution and pose as martyrs.
There are doubtless many actual diseases that are the product of the mind and the fancy, and there is a great sphere of usefulness open to the doctor, who recognising this, is able to cure the disease by auto-suggestion; in other words, the disease the mind creates the mind can cure. The following extract may explain many of the supposed cures of cancer, and there must be many hysterical conditions likewise that come under the same category.
Dr. Schofield writes:
On one occasion Sir Andrew Clark informed me that he had known of some fifty cases of pulsating tumour of the abdomen that had been sent in for operation, none of which really existedbeing what are known as phantom tumours'... the peculiar character of it being that a whiff of chloroform will cause it absolutely to disappear. The secret was that in thin women, the beating of the great artery can easily be felt in the abdomen, and, haunted with the fear of abdominal tumour, the mind so dwelt upon it that eventually the muscles of that side contracted involuntarily to a hard ball, and the tumour' was formed. (Behind the Brass Plate, p. 100)
He likewise adduces testimony to the healing of the crippled in heathen lands by Satanic power.
My brother [the late Dr. Harold Ainsworth Schofield, M.A., M.D. Oxon., B.Sc., Lond., F.R.C.S., etc.], who had thrown up a brilliant position in London to become a missionary in China, told me that some temples were full of rejected crutches, splints and bandages, left as thank-offerings by those who had been healed. (Behind the Brass Plate, p. 218).
The following testimony of one, who surely from her experience is in a position to know intimately the truth of what she writes, is taken from The Healing Delusion, published by the Bible Truth Depot, 1 East 13th, St., New York. The writer, May Wyburn Fitch, was a superintendent of the famous McAuley Water St. Mission. The article is reproduced exactly, the italics being the authoress'.
I have attended fourteen healing campaigns, ranging from two to nine weeks in length, and was a member of the party in nine. I have attended between three hundred and three hundred and fifty meetings, in most of them being on the platform where I could observe all that was taking place. I have dealt with hundreds of sufferers before and after they were anointed and prayed for, and I have assisted the evangelists as they anointed and prayed for the sick. I have seen people in all sorts of conditionssome suffering from cancer, diabetes, Bright's disease, tuberculosis, and, in fact almost everything except contagious diseases. I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of cripples, some so badly crippled they could not even use crutches, but had to be carried in and out of the meetings and up on the platform to be anointed, and they had to be carried down again.
In the thousands who crowd the platform to be anointed no one can or dare doubt there are many who are truly born again.' I have dealt with hundreds of them personally, and in as far as it is possible for any human being to judge, many were truly children of God, some of them for many years. Many have been sufferers for a long period, or have children who are afflicted. They believe what the evangelist says, and they show in their faces the new hope that has come into their hearts. They comply with all that is required. I have known many who were so conscientious that they refused to complete the filling out of their card until they had sought out, or written to, relatives, friends or acquaintances, as the case happened to be, even when they were not the aggressors, and they have told me the results or showed me the letters received in reply. In some instances reconciliation was effected, in others it was denied, but at least they had done their part. This in itself is a splendid thing, but what I want to point out is this, after having met all these conditions, and done all they could do, they are anointed and prayed for, and they return from the platform in just the same condition as when they mounted it. I might add here that all candidates for healing are compelled to go on the platform, in full view of the audience, to be anointed, and if unable to walk they are carried up.
I do not say that no one has ever been healed in the hundreds of services I have attended. I can and do say most emphatically that I have never seen any evidence of healing. If there were healings they were of an internal character and not visible to the eye. Of the hundreds, yes, I believe I could safely say thousands, of deaf, dumb, blind and cripples I have seen anointed, I have never seen one healed or even definitely improved. There have been a few, a very few, who have said they could hear a little better or see a little better, but at the end of the campaign they were not improved. Is this the way God heals?
Am I insinuating that God cannot heal these afflicted ones? No! ABSOLUTELY No! I know God can and does heal, when it is His will to do so. I am a living witness to the fact. When I was lying at death's door twenty-five years ago, suffering from septicemia, following child-birth, with, according to four doctors, one chance in a thousand, unconscious and unable to pray for my own recovery, in answer to the prayers of one who loved me better than life I was raised up. I know God answers prayers, and I know He heals in answer to prayer. I object to no preacher or evangelist praying for the sick and afflicted, but I am objecting to the harmful way in which it is being taught and done.
It were well if Principal Jeffreys were to put his healing campaigns to a reliable test. Let him ask half-a-dozen irreproachable Christian men, and half-a-dozen Christian doctors of repute to follow up the hundreds of cases of healing that he claims in some mission of a year ago, and let him and all of us abide by the result. If this work is the mighty testimony to the power of God, surely such a test should not be shrunk from. If it is not forthcoming, we may well draw our own conclusions.
But it is clear from our enquiry that the methods practised by the present-day healers and the methods of the Bible are very different. It is clear, too, that there is a great deal of auto-suggestion and personal influence in the matter, and that such cures can be equally claimed by Spiritists and Christian Scientists, and, as we have seen, even in heathen circles, where undoubtedly the influence is Satanic.
Speaking with Tongues
In considering the claim of the Pentecostalists to speak with tongues, it will be well straight away to quote all the Scriptures, bearing on the subject of the gift of tongues.
THERE IS ONLY ONE ALLUSION TO THE SUBJECT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
It is quoted by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21, proving that it refers to the gift of tongues.
For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. (Isa. 28:11)
Tongues were to be given, not as a sign of favour, but rather the reverse,
Yet they would not hear... that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (v. 13)
THERE IS ONLY ONE ALLUSION TO THE SUBJECT IN THE FOUR GOSPELS
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)
This is a very favourite passage with the leaders of this movement. It is significant that they emphasize the parts that suit them. They emphasize the speaking with tongues and the divine healing. They say little about casting out demons, and still less about taking up serpents and the drinking of poison. These two last even the most ardent Pentecostalist is not anxious to put to the test. We remember the case of the Apostle Paul being bitten by the viper, that came out of the heat of the fire, and how astonished the natives of the island of Melita were when they looked that
he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. (Acts 28:6)
Seeing that the Pentecostal movement has travelled to India we should imagine that there is ample scope for the serpent bite to be tested.
THERE ARE THREE ALLUSIONS TO THE SUBJECT IN THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
They began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4, 8, 11)
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. (Acts 10:46)
They spake with tongues, and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)
It is significant that in all three cases it is a case of COMPANIES, and in each case it is a question of that company's introduction to Christianity.
The first instance is that of the great Day of Pentecost. It was on the occasion of the inauguration of Christianity. It was at the time that the Holy Spirit of God was bestowed to indwell the believers, linking them up with the glorified Head in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, and with each other as members of the body of Christ upon the earth, thus forming the church of God, the house of God, the assembly of God upon the earth.
The second occasion in the Acts, where the gift of tongues is mentioned, is in connection with a COMPANY again. It was manifested on a very historic occasion when the Gentiles were admitted on equal terms with the Jews into the church of God. The prejudice of the Jew had to be overcome. God chose the Apostle Peter, the foremost of the apostles to accomplish this. He had to be prepared by a divinely given vision. And when He preached the gospel to Cornelius and his friends the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word, and they spake with tongues.
When the Jews received the gospel on the Day of Pentecost, repentance and water baptism preceded the reception of the Holy Spirit; but, in the case of the Gentiles, the reception of the Spirit came first, in order to convince Peter and his friends that they were not to be refused baptism: God as good as said, If I have ministered the infinitely greater thing that connects these believers with heaven, who are you to refuse the much smaller thing for earth, water baptism?
The third occasion in the Acts, where the speaking with tongues is mentioned, was again in connection with a COMPANY. The Apostle Paul came across a few men, about twelve, who had not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost (Acts 19:2). This was the occasion of their introduction to the gospel and Christianity, and falls in as a kind of belated appendix to the two previous occasions, so clearly marked as the times when the Jew and the Gentile were brought into the church of God.
Please note that in each case the gift of tongues was given to companies, that they were given WITHOUT BEING ASKED FOR, that they were given to each and all in the companies. But when we come to 1 Corinthians 12 we find that the gifts were NOT given to ALL, that one had one gift, another had another gift, as we read,
To another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues... the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. (vv. 10-11)
not giving to every man, but DIVIDING to every man as He will. The claim of Pentecostalists that the gift of tongues in the unfailing mark of the indwelling of the Spirit is without the support of Scripture, and only proves the ignorance of those who assert it.
Further, if this were true, it would mean that the vast majority of Christians all down the centuries, including wonderful men of God, whose names are in every mouth, were not indwelt by the Spirit of Goda very solemn suggestion indeed.
The Holy Spirit divides to every man as He will. If the gift is not present in the church, it is evident the Spirit has not given the gift. Is it likely that multitudes of gifted earnest men should not have had among their number those whom the Spirit in His sovereignty had gifted in this way, if the claims of Pentecostalists were true?
Pentecostalists teach that speaking with tongues is a necessary accompaniment of the baptism of the Spirit. This is stated by Pastor Thomas B. Barratt, for years in the movement, and working in fellowship with the Foursquare Gospel Movement. He write:
There has always been a constant and firm belief in the Scriptural statement, that the Baptism has to be followed by speaking in other tongues, just as in the case of the disciples at the beginning. (The Baptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire, p. 8).
Pastor Barratt admits that Scripture teaches that speaking with tongues in the assembly is limited to
Two, or at the most by three, (1 Cor. 14:27)
yet in a meeting where he was the leader, and where the writer was present, no less than twelve spoke, five of them women, thus contravening Scripture.
But he attempts to get out of the difficulty saying,
There is a difference, call it the gift of tongues' or what you please, a very great difference in the tremendous outburst of tongues, when the fire falls, and the more orderly use of the gift in the assembly. The one is not under control, the other is. (p. 13).
What right has Pastor Barratt to make out, first, that the outburst on the Day of Pentecost was out of control? This is not saying much for the Spirit of God. Second, what warrant has he for saying that the happening on the Day of Pentecost is to be continued for all time? It is a case of making the Word of God void for his tradition.
That things do get out of control in these modem manifestations is very certain from all accounts, as well as what the writer has himself witnessed.
ONLY ONE EPISTLE ALLUDES TO THE SUBJECT OF TONGUES
1 Corinthians 12 to 14 is the only place in the epistles where the teaching as to tongues is to be found. It will be found to be largely CORRECTIVE. Please make a careful note of this. The Corinthian saints were specializing in the spectacular gifts, if they may be so described. The apostle corrects this. And please note that the spectacular gifts were not the mark of a company characterized by special spirituality. Indeed the Apostle tells them plainly,
Ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men. (Chapter 3:3)
Was there not frightful immorality allowed in their midst and gloried in? Were there not divisions among them? Was there not evil doctrine in their midst, some denying the very resurrection? Were there not surfeiting and drunkenness accompanying the solemn occasion of the Lord's supper? Such was the condition of the assembly which was glorying in these showy gifts.
Nor was the Lord unmindful of their condition for He laid His gracious hand of government upon them, and many were weak and sickly among them, and many were even taken away from the earth; where they were so dishonouring the name of the Lord.
We will now indicate, the practices that obtain in these movements, and see if they agree with the Scriptures. The first we will speak about are
THE TARRYING MEETINGS
In connection with - this movement much is made of the instructions in Luke 24:49:
Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but TARRY ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Now if the claims of these people are true, and the Holy Spirit indwells them in such a special way as they profess, are we not right in expecting that the Holy Spirit would unfold to them in a very deep way the Scriptures, that they would be preserved from ignorance and the misconstruing of the Word of God?
Yet we shall find these tarrying or waiting meetings are based upon a misconstruction of Scripture. They are not justified by the Word of God. They are accompanied by characteristics that are far removed from the ways of the Spirit of God.
A very slight examination of the text will convince the reader that Luke 24:49 records a special instruction to the disciples to wait for the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They were to wait at Jerusalem and nowhere else. Their tarrying lasted ten days and no longer. It lasted till the descent of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled to them, and only till then. There are no instructions, outside this specific case, to believers to wait or tarry for the Holy Spirit. To do so today is really the denial that He has come as promised on the day of Pentecost.
Moreover the believers were not bidden to go to the lengths the Pentecostalists go to today, as if it were a hard thing to wrest this favour from the Lord.
When we turn to Ephesians 1:13, we read:
In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.
From this passage we clearly gather that when a sinner is brought by the Spirit of God to repentance, and receives the gospel of his salvation, God seals His own work in the soul by giving unasked the Holy Spirit.
On the day of Pentecost when the convicted hearers asked the Apostle Peter what they were to do, he replied,
Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
There is here no word as to beseeching, agonizing, supplicating, but ye shall receive the Holy Ghost. No word of any tarrying meeting.
The same thing was true when Cornelius and his friends were converted. We read:
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (Acts 10:44)
They had no time to even ask for the Spirit; if, indeed, up to then they had ever heard of the Holy Spirit. On the reception of the gospel God graciously sealed His own work in their souls by bestowing on them the gift of the Spirit without their asking. There is no word of their having tarrying meetings.
In the third case we are distinctly told that the men, though baptised with the baptism of John, had not so much as heard of the Holy Spirit, but having believed the Gospel they received the Spirit through the laying on of the hands of the Apostle. Again there was no tarrying meeting.
Nor in the section we are considering in 1 Corinthians are there any instructions as to tarrying meetings.
Let us now describe how these tarrying meetings are conducted, and see if they bear the characteristics of the Scriptures.
The most prominent Pentecostalist in the world today is Mrs. Aimée Semple McPherson of the Angelus Temple, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. In her book of 791 pages, entitled. This is That, the title culled from the verse,
This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16)
she describes how she received what she calls the Baptism of the Spirit. She has conducted missions in Britain in fellowship with Pastor George Jeffreys of the Foursquare Gospel, so that in quoting her we have a representative person.
She received her baptism in her own room, and this is how she described it.
All at once my hands and arms began to tremble gently at first, then more and more, until my whole body was atremble with the power of the Holy Spirit. I did not consider this at all strange, as I knew how the batteries we experimented with in the laboratory at college hummed and shook and trembled under the power of electricity, and there was the third Person of the Trinity coming into my body in all His fulness, making me His dwelling, the temple of the Holy Ghost'...
Almost without my notice my body slipped gently to the floor, and I was lying under the power of God, but felt as though caught up and floating upon the billowy clouds of glory...
My lungs began to fill and heave under the power as the Comforter came in. The cords of my throat began to twitchmy chin began to quiver, and then to shake violently, but Oh! How sweetly. My tongue began to move up and down and sideways in my mouth. Unintelligible sounds as of stammering lips and another tongue, spoken of in Isaiah 28:11, began to issue from my lips. This stammering of different syllables, then words, then connected words, was continued for some time as the Spirit was teaching me to yield to Him. Then suddenly, out of my innermost being flowed rivers of praise in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance (Acts 2:4), and Oh! I knew that I was praising Jesus with glorious language, clothing Him with honour and glory which I felt but could never have put into words...
I shouted and sang and laughed and talked in tongues until it seemed that I was too full to hold another bit of blessing lest I should burst with the glory. (This is That, pp. 43-44)
We ask the reader, Is this like the Spirit of God? Is this an experience anything like that described in the Scriptures? Compare it with the Word of God, Does it lead us to expect such an experience? Is there anything remotely like this in the Scriptures?
Here is an account of a tarrying meeting written by a missionary, who attended two Conference meetings of the Pentecostal Movement in London. Again we ask, Is this like the Spirit of God?
I returned to the hall before the commencement of the evening meeting, and soon noticed a stream of men and women passing through the hall on their way to one of the many basement rooms; for prayer I supposed.
Presently, from the direction in which they had gone, there arose a bewildering babel of tumult. Wild gusts of chorus singing, broken by discordant yells and screaming ejaculations, died down into a shouting recitative. This went on for some time, and it became evident to my own mind that if I wished to touch the pulse and sound the heart, so to speak, of the evening meeting, I must get down to its prayer gathering, so I went down.
The room was packed, with a perspiring, panting, breathless crowd of people, the majority of whom were probably children of God. Men and women, young and old, crouched, sat, knelt, lay and stood upon the ground, crushed closely together. All were shouting and screaming snatches of choruses, unintelligible ejaculations, and the deafening hallelujahs, together with the heat, rendered the place insupportable. Some were crouching round a central table, beating their hands upon it, and one man snapping his fingers in the air, and uttering howls, danced in the confined place. I noticed with grief that two missionaries were present; they sat together with the rest, and were entirely abandoned to this wild orgy of self indulgence. Not a snatch of intelligent prayer did I hear.
We are ashamed to have to transcribe an account of such abominations practised in the name of the Lord.
Christians are exhorted to let themselves go, not to resist the Spirit, to let their minds become a blank. This is dangerous advice indeed, laying open the bodies of those who follow it to demoniac influence. Similar advice is given in Spiritist circles.
Keith L. Brooks of Los Angeles, the home of Mrs. McPherson, and where her Angelus Temple is situated, writes:
I hear of others who have tarried for a repetition of Pentecostal Tongues night after night, letting the mind go blank as they were directed, and agonizing in prayer. Then they have gone into a trance, felt delightful sensations in the body, and mumbled strange things. But some of them have found themselves thereafter frequently subject to these spells. The least excitement brings them on and each time they are left in a weaker physical state. One young man of my acquaintance became insane as the result of these experiences.
We could produce similar testimony from more than one pen, if space permitted. We have the written testimony of three ministers of Los Angeles, who know of Mrs. McPherson's work first hand.
Mrs. Geo. Gutekunst of Salem, Oregon, U. S. A., teaches
All do not receive the gift of tongues, but all who receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speak in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
She then describes her baptism.
It was first like a cold icy wave. I knew that I was dying; truly I wasto self; then the most wonderful warm, burning flood swept over my being from the top of my head to my feet. I could not stand. I am heavy and one would think I would have had a bad fall, but, beloved, it was like falling into the softest bed of down, into the arms of Jesus.
I said, Lord, show me that what I said pleased you; I care not what others say.' In a second I was in the Spirit' and praising God as oniy the Holy Ghost can in five distinctly different tongues. I did not understand a word. Praise God! but how my soul sang praises unto God! I was edified and my Baptism sealed!
Now if this lady did not understand a word of what she said, how did she know that she spoke in five distinct languages?
We would ask if this is anything like the quiet, sober account of the Scriptures? Does it bear the marks of the Spirit of God?
Frank Varley writing in the Bible League Quarterly says,
From a friend in India, who knew a great deal here [ Australia ], but learned much more there, I heard of grave moral disorders resultant from associations commenced in these tarrying' meetings!
The writer was told the same thing in Sweden by a gifted and godly servant of Christ, details not fit for publication.
We may ask, Is this sort of conduct the result of the action of the Spirit of God?
The writer remembers meeting a German in Norway, who was in the thick of the Tongues Movement. He said to him, You speak English with a pronounced foreign accent. I am really anxious to test the claim you put forth that you speak with tongues. If you will speak to me in English without a trace of accent I will believe what you claim is true.
He could only look at me in a sheepish fashion. If he had been asked for some gibberish that could not be checked he might have shown off. The man had a bad reputation morally as well, and the movement was under suspicion in that locality, and the writer was told it was so in other places in Sweden.
There is one test as to speaking with tongues. Where are the Pentecostal missionaries, who, going to a foreign land and not knowing the language, are able at once to preach the gospel in that language? There would be some sense in that, if it occurred. If the speaker is English, and all the hearers are English, what is the use of speaking in an unknown tongue? But if the Pentecostal evangelist finds himself in the midst of heathen, who do not understand his language, how beautiful it would be, if he could preach the gospel in their own tongue to them. How is it with all their claims to a Pentecost that this does not happen? It happened on the great Day of Pentecost.
From The Elim Evangel we extract the following from a missionary's printed letter:
Then I thought how I could just manage to express simple things to the natives in their own lingo, whereas then I could only badly pronounce incivadi ' (i.e. Book, letter). Don't think from the above that I will soon be able to preach it will be many months yet. I think the language is easy in many sensesbut the pronouns are a nightmare. Hundreds of them!
It is extraordinary to read this in the magazine that stands for speaking with tongues.
The Rev. A.A.Boddy claimed that his two young children spoke fluently in Chinese, How is it that we do not hear of such going out to China with the glad news and preaching the gospel at once to the natives. The writer remembers a young man in Norway, who professed to speak with tongues, and yet told him that he was learning the English language, and finding it very difficult. The practices connected with tongues have undoubtedly brought grave discredit on the movement, and that side of it is being more carefully handled, so much so that in Mrs. McPherson's Temple at Los Angeles the tarrying meetings and tongues manifestations are now confined to a sound-proof room.
The Rev. R. P. Shuler, who has first-hand knowledge of what he writes, says:
When Mrs. McPherson first came to Los Angeles, she was associated with the tongues' movement at Victoria hall. I have many photographs of this woman and Mr. Fisher, leader of that movement, posing together on platforms and elsewhere. The movement at Victoria Hall was then a genuine Holy Roller' movement so far as physical facts go... Her first husband was a tongues' preacher, preaching in unknown tongues. She claims in her writings that she was convicted under his preaching while he was speaking in an unknown tongue. She claims that her second husband, from whom she is now divorced, received the gift of tongues under her ministry. During her first revival in Los Angeles, the tongues' manifestations became so noisy in her meetings that people living nearby complained to the police and I have personally talked with the officers who were assigned the task of protecting the community about the tent from these demonstrations.
And yet I am told by a member of her Advisory Committee that Mrs. McPherson insists that there be no tongues' demonstrations in her regular service at Angelus Temple. She insists that those who wish to have the tongues' witness, following the infilling of the Holy Ghost, shall resort to either room 500 or room 120, one of which rooms is advertised as sound proof.
I have before me a little booklet very recently published by Mrs. McPherson. The name of the pamphlet is The Narrow Line. Here is what she says in that booklet: She says that recently God has called her to tread a very narrow line because of Fanatical flesh masquerading as the Spirit.' She seems to have discovered the lust-lure of these movements. She continues: The Holy Spirit is not marked by wildness, hysteria, screaming or unseemly manifestation.'... But that does not match up very well with what goes on in room 120, when people are pounded on the back, when the whole room is one babel of noises, when men begin to shake, when some fall in trances, and when the jabber of tongues is heard in high-keyed voices above the general pandemonium of the surroundings. (McPhersonism, (fifth edition) pp. 91-93)
If these tongues are the manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God in Pentecostal power, why should they be marked by features that have brought the whole thing into disrepute? Why should these displays, if indeed they are really of the Spirit of God, be thrust into the background, and the proceedings kept within padded walls? If it is judged necessary to hide away these manifestations, is it not proof that what goes on is not the product of the Spirit of God?
God is not the Author of confusion. (1 Cor. 14:33)
are words that occur in the very chapter that deals with the question of tongues.
These tarrying meetings are based upon a misconception of Scripture. In practice they are marked by scenes worthy of Bedlam. Men and women lose control over themselves, and act like maniacs. Indecent postures often result. Strange physical feelings take possessions of those who let themselves go. How any serious Christian can countenance such things is incomprehensible.
SPEAKING IN TONGUES MUST BE AT MOST BY THREE AND THAT BY COURSE
There are specific instructions in 1 Corinthians 14:27, to guide us in this matter. We are certain that if the Holy Spirit of God, the Divine Author of the Scriptures, is present in a remarkable way with these Pentecostalists, He will not lead them to set aside the inspired instructions. He will not lead them to flout the Word of God in this matter.
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course [that is one at a time]; and let one interpret.
These instructions might as well never have been penned so far as the Pentecostalists are concerned. The writer has already referred to a Tongues meeting under the leadership of one of their most prominent leaders, and who is at this moment in fellowship with the Elim Foursquare Movement.
First of all a number of young ladies were on the platform with guitars and zithers and the like, and two or three young men with violins. They spent a considerable time playing lilting choruses, religious jazz music set to catchy words, until the audience was excited and in an impressionable. mood. The writer felt a strange uncanny influence at work, certainly not that of the Spirit of God.
No less than TWELVE speakers took part that night. Did the Holy Spirit of God indite the instructions just quoted? Did He nullify Himself by leading these twelve, or at any rate nine out of the twelve, to speak in plain defiance of the definite word of Scripture,
At the MOST by three?
We have only to ask the question to answer it.
IF THERE BE NO INTERPRETER, THE SPEAKER IN AN UNKNOWN TONGUE IS TO BE SILENT
Again we have the definite instructions of the Holy Spirit of God as to the conduct to be observed in this matter.
If there be no interpreter, let him [the speaker in an unknown tongue] keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. (1 Cor. 14:28)
These instructions were set aside when the writer was present at a Tongues' meeting. A man spoke in a tongue, or what was claimed to be a tongue, and there was no attempt at interpretation. There are meetings where interpretation is attempted, but very often these instructions are ignored. Is this a mark of the special infilling of the Spirit?
WOMEN ARE NOT TO SPEAK IN THE ASSEMBLY, NOR TO USURP AUTHORITY OVER THE MAN
Here again instructions are very plain, yet they are set aside by this movement.
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. (1 Cor. 14:34-35)
In the meeting the writer was present at, already referred to, FIVE women and SEVEN men took part. The number, as we have seen, was a gross violation of the plain instructions of Scripture, which was still further set at defiance when women, and that to the number of five spoke. The writer carries a very vivid and unhappy recollection of one woman in particular. She got up, began to speak in a shrill voice, got excited to a painful extent, her volubility became worse and worse, her shrill voice went off in a series of hysterical screams, her subject matter was incoherent and commonplace to the last degree. At length even nature could stand the strain no longer, and she sank down out of breath and completely exhausted. How could one believe that such conduct was the product of a special reception of the Spirit of God, as it was claimed to be?
There are different ways of attempting to get rid of these plain instructions of the Spirit of God. One is to say that the word speak, in the verse means to chatter. The verse is said to be a rebuke to the women who chattered in the assembly whilst the service was going on, thus causing scandal and confusion.
The word, speak, here is the ordinary word for speak. It is used twenty times in the chapter, 1 Corinthians 14 we have just quoted from. It is the word used when God speaks, when the Lord Jesus speaks, when the Holy Spirit speaks. It is a pure fabrication to say that it means to chatter. It means no such thing. To assert this is either culpable negligence or downright dishonesty.
Then again we are told that the word for woman means a married woman, and is no prohibition to the unmarried woman, who has no husband of whom to ask questions at home. But this contention will not hold. The word used means a woman, a wife. It is the very general word for woman, and occurs nearly one hundred times in the New Testament.
The Apostle presents these instructions with peculiar emphasis. Did the Spirit of God foresee that this Scripture would be resented and flouted?
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. (1 Cor. 14:37-38)
Can there be a more solemn description, or one more binding, than that which is given?
THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD
Have these commandments been abrogated?
Mrs. McPherson claims to have received the Baptism of the Spirit and to possess Pentecostal gifts, yet she is setting at defiance the commandments of the Lord in her speaking in the assemblies that she frequents. In an article in The Foursquare Revivalist, she says:
I know that some Christians say that women have no right to preach. But even though it were a woman, who first brought sin into the world, that seems to me good reason why she should be the first to help take it out again. I cannot forget that it was a woman who preached the first salvation sermonat Sychar (John 4:39). After the Lord's resurrection I find that it was a woman who first received the Lord's charge to declare the good tidings. MenPeter and Johnhad seen the empty sepulchre, and gone home againto bed, as it was not yet light (John 20:6, 10). But Mary stayed, weeping, to be rewarded with the Lord's command: Go and tell My brethren, I ascend to My Father,' (John 20:17), to which was added the charge of the angel, Go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen.' (Matthew 28:7). When I see women thus commissioned by the Lord Himself, I can't believe that Paul ever meant that, having received of His grace and gifts, women must keep silent about it merely because they wear skirts instead of trousers.
What a sad setting aside of the Word of God by this woman, who professes to have received the baptism of the Spirit and to speak with tongues. First, instead of observing what the Scriptures plainly teach, she sets out to rebut what some Christians say. Then she proceeds to tell us that the woman at Sychar's well was selected to preach the first gospel sermon.
The narrative tells us no such thing. She invited her fellow townsmen to come and hear the Lord, but she did not preach. It is a poor case that needs to misrepresent the Scriptures in order to bolster up a false position. Again in the case of Mary, she was not bidden to preach, as Mrs. McPherson infers without Scripture warrant. She had a glorious message of exactly thirteen words to carry to the disciples, and delivered it.
Mrs. McPherson brushes the Apostle Paul aside, and does not dare to quote his inspired instructions that women have to be silent and not publicly preach. She ignores them in this paper. She says that as woman brought sin into the world, that seems to her to be a good reason why a woman should be the first to help to take it out again, that is, to publicly preach. In this she is trading upon the ignorance of her hearers, for the reason given by Paul in 1 Timothy 2, why a woman should not teach is just because she was the one who brought sin into the worldthe exact opposite of what Mrs. McPherson says.
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1 Tim. 2:11-14).
Here the instructions are not confined to the assembly, and forbid women to teach men in religious matters. It does not hinder their speaking to their own sex, and what happy, useful work women have done in this way.
The prohibition of the public spiritual ministration of women to men is given under two heads. First, the order of creation. Adam was first formed. Man is the head of the woman. Second, woman was first in the transgression.
It is not a little significant that some women, who have transgressed the Scriptures, have been responsible for bringing very evil things into the world. It was a woman, Mrs. Eddy, who introduced that frightfully evil system into the world, miscalled, Christian Science, and who gained great riches through her evil work. It was a woman, Mrs. White, who was the chief instrument in propagating Seventh Day Adventism. It was Mrs. Blavatsky, who introduced Theosophy to the western world. Her successor is Mrs. Besant. It is well known that for one male medium in Spiritism there are a dozen women mediums. That woman Jezebel stands as a figure of horrible portent in the Word of God. It seems as if women from the days of Eve were more open to Satanic snares.
The writer will yield to none in his appreciation and admiration of Christian women. They have their sphere, clearly defined by Scripture, and they play a very wonderful and blessed part in the church of God. But God knows best, and He has not endowed women with the capacity to be leaders in the things of God. Their physique, their emotional nature seem to lay them open more than men for these snares of the devil. It is well when men have their proper place in the things of God. It is well for Christian women to have the cooler judgment of men to rely upon in these matters. It is well for men to have the complementary gifts of women to be their helpers as designed of God.
We have already thrown out a challenge that there should be a reliable test made of the reality or otherwise of the healings that are claimed by these Pentecostal systems. We should like to throw out another challenge, viz., that a number of able Christian linguists should be invited to listen to these tongues. In the main, we believe, they are gibberish. They are no language at all. We have been told that in some cases where there are real languages spoken, the persons speaking have rolled out floods of obscenity, which they would never have dreamed of uttering in their sober senses. In that case the tongue is clearly Satanic, for the Scriptures repeatedly speak of unclean spirits.
The following testimony shows what would be likely if a real test were made as we suggest. The Rev. S.E.Polovina, who is known as being quite a linguist, relates the following experience of the Tongues Movement:
Some time ago these people were carrying a meeting on, and claiming they were receiving the gift of tongues, and that they could speak foreign languages. As I am a foreigner myself and speaking five or six languages, I desired to be in one of their meetings and see if they got the gift of any language that I could speak. I went to their meeting and took the front seat that I might be sure to hear what they spoke, but to my surprise they never spoke a sound of any language I ever heard. I have heard numbers of languages in my travels through Europe and Asia, and have heard and seen many different nationalities of people. But among all these peoples I never heard any such jabbering as that before in my life.
But to investigate more thoroughly than that, next day I went and gathered seven more foreigners, those who can speak a number of languages. I told them just what I wanted them to do. To be sure and watch when they began jabbering, and see if they could catch just one word in any language. So that night we went to their church, and took front seats. After they had a few songs, and prayer, they had a testimony service before the preaching. They also had a man who claimed that he had received the gift of interpretation, and could interpret everything that they said when they spoke in that unknown tongue.' They began to testify in the English language, but they soon turned into that jabbering. When one would get through with his unknown tongue,' this man, who claimed to be an interpreter, would tell them what they had said, and what language they had spoken in. And behold the first interpretation he made he lied. He told the man that he spoke in the Russian language, and I know he did not, because I can speak Russian just as good or possibly a little better than he could English. I never said anything, and let them all testify and him interpret. He interpreted them one by one, and told them they spoke in different foreign languages. So it happened that every language that he said they spoke, one of us knew that language, but we failed to catch one single word.
So when they had all finished testifying, I arose to my feet and began to testify, saying in the English language, I love to praise God's name for saving and sanctifying power,' then I changed right into my language, and quoted part of the third verse of the third chapter of John: Zaista, gaista ti kazem: ako se ko nanovo ne rodi, ne moize vidjeti carstva Bozyega.' Then I turned to him and asked him what I had spoken into what language, and he told me that I had spoken in French, and that I quoted the nineteenth chapter of Acts, and the second verse, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?'
Then I said to him, Brother, that is the biggest lie you ever told since you came into the world. I quoted part of the third verse of the third chapter of John in the Magyar language. Not only did you misinterpret this testimony, but every testimony that was given here tonight.' Then he said to me, How do you know?' I said, There are eight of us here, who can speak all these languages you have referred to. We are willing for you to take us before any consul and let you find out that we can speak these languages, if you don't believe we can.'
THE MOVEMENT HAS MONEY IN IT
In the Book of Job we read that Satan challenged God,
Doth Job fear God for nought? (ch. 1:9)
Thank God, we know that many, many Christians serve the Lord for love, and not for material gain. One nobleman sold his family jewels, and disposed of carriages and horses, that he might have the wherewithal to carry on his work for the Lord. But these delusions of the latter days seem to have money in them.
Paul asked the Corinthians,
Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?... Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? (2 Cor. 12:17-18)
We should like to throw out this challenge to the Movement we have been enquiring into:Are they using their propaganda for the acquiring of wealth or are they not?
Pastor Shuler writes:
Mrs. Eddy is said to have made over a milion dollars from her false system... Joseph Smith became a rich man as the result of his false teaching. Alexander Dowie sprang from poverty to a fortune... Dr. Price, a disciple of Mrs. McPherson, is rapidly acquiring wealth. The healing business is a sure road to money and especially if you have an ecstasy' attachment, where the people roll and work themselves into a physical seventh heaven. When under the spell' they will give the Lord' all they have by handing it to the Healers.' Let anyone examine into the prosperity that has marked the career of the Healers' who have been doing business at Victoria Hall for years and where Mrs. McPherson started on her career at Los Angeles. The city has seen many rise to fortune by such leadership.
Mrs. McPherson came to Los Angeles according to her own writings penniless... She is no longer a poor woman by any means. She has acquired a fortune. (McPhersonism, 5th Edition. Pp. 74-75)
Pastor Shuler estimates that Mrs. McPherson is worth near about 1,000,000 dollars, or over £250,000. Remember this has all been amassed in a very few years. She has built the magnificent Angelus Temple, claimed to have the biggest roof of any religious building in America, and holds the deeds as her personal property. The building inside is like the Royal Albert Hall, London, with a vast dome, painted to represent the heavens. There are two galleries and the seating accommodation is 3,500. Facing the audience, high on the wall, is an immense phosphorescent cross, lit up from the inside, hanging immediately above the stage or altar.
The following extract is from Mrs. McPherson's own pen, describing the opening night at her Angelus Temple :
The first Thursday night, as the curtains were swept aside and the lights of the auditorium were dimmed, the audience at first gasped at the beauty of the scene depicting the river Jordan, flowing under stately palm trees and foliage and then over a miniature waterfall into the snow-white baptistry. As the lights brightened from break of day to mid-noon and the first candidates stepped into the river in their flowing robes of white, the congregation suddenly rose to their feet and began to clap their hands and shout aloud the praise of the Lord. (This is That, p. 567).
The writer possesses a copy of the above book, a large volume of 791 pages, copyrighted 28 th November, 1923. The perusal of it is enough to convince any sensible Christian that the claim she makes of a special infilling of the Holy Spirit of God is nothing short of AUDACIOUS DECEPTION. If she had received such an infilling, her conduct would be such as would glorify God, and be in keeping with the Scriptures.
MRS. McPHERSON AND HER CLAIMS
To show the reader what these claims are worth it will be well to describe this book very briefly and give one or two extracts from the same.
Mrs. McPherson glorifies herself in this book from beginning to end. It is computed that she refers to herself over 10,000 times, a sure mark that she is not infilled by the Spirit of God. The photographs in the book are about herself. She figures prominently, robed in white and black in a most sensational manner. When she comes on the platform she intends to be the cynosure of every eye.
She tells us that she married a tongues evangelist, Robert Semple. Husband and wife were known as Holy Roller preachers. Remember, when she was going on in all the excesses of Holy Rollerism, she claimed that she had this special Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They then went to China, where they reported the fire falling and thousands being healed. But Semple sickened and died, and his widow had operation after operation. Where was the gift of healing in all this, where was the healing in the atonement, where was the prayer of faith to save the sick?
She then married McPhersonan unconverted clerk in a store. By him she had a son. But she left her husband to go off preaching, and then describes how he came to her, and got his Baptism and spoke with tongues. Then she describes how he tried to get her again and again to live with him, and make a home together, but how, she claims, the Lord led her to go on with her preaching. Then we hear no more of him in the book, but the truth is that he divorced her for desertion. As far as the book is concerned he completely drops out. Her mother, Mrs. Kennedy, who has worked with her in her Angelus Temple services, has been twice married, and is not living with her present husband.
The following two extracts from her book will suffice to open most people's eyes as to her pretensions. The first extract, we believe, does not appear in a later edition of her book. If it is true, why not? If this is a vision given to her by the Spirit of God, why suppress it? It is all very well to claim such as given by the Lord, but what can be thought of its being withdrawn?
Then I looked and behold! a New creation, as of a beautiful woman. I beheld her coming from the West, and walking towards the East. She approached. I beheld her white raiment, dazzling as the snow in sunshine. Her movements were gracious and tender. Her voice was mellow and full of sweet fragrance. I smelled the fragrance of her garments, as sweet lilies grown in the valleys, and as the rose of Sharon. Her eyes beheld no guile, but they were tender as a dove's eyes. Her lips were pure, and dropped as the honey-comb. No foolishness, no criticism marred their sweetness. No fleshly words, her ears were kept for His alone, her Lover, her Bridegroom, her King.
As she drew nigh, I gazed with astonishment into her face, and saw that it was myself. I heard the voice of the Master speaking unto me, saying: This is My beloved. How far short you have fallen of the standard of my perfections.' (This is That, p. 777).
Surely the only description of this piece of writing that it is blasphemous. Can any person in the senses imagine that such a description is the fruit the Spirit of God?
The second extract is equally bad. She writes:
As I stood there on the platform, with my eyes closed, I saw the entire tent surrounded with black demons, with huge bat-like wings. Each demon seemed to stand ten feet tall, and as they stood in a circle, completely surrounding the tent, they were so close together that their wings touched, tip to tip. They stood close to the border of the tent, and with my eyes still closed, my heart began to cry out: Oh, Lord, what shall I do?' And He spoke to me in such a real way, in that calm undisturbed voice which those who love the Prince of Peace know so well: Just begin to praise Me. I will do the fighting. You do the praising.' So I began to praise Him.
Praise the Lord!' The first time I did it the demons seemed to tremble.
Praise the Lord!' The second time I shouted it.
I am sure that my voice was heard above every other sound, and I saw each demon take one step backwards, away from the tent.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!! Praise the Lord!!!' Each time that I said Praise the Lord' the demons took another step back, until I lost sight of them in the distance.
Praise the Lord.' The next time I said it I saw in the distance a circular band of angels standing round the tent.
Praise the Lord! P-R-A-I-S-E T-H-E L-O-R-D!' Each time I praised Rim they took one step nearer, another step nearer, still another step nearer, till at last they stood at the very border of the tent, such tail, wonderful-looking angels, with their beautiful white wings spread so wide that the wings of each touched, tip to tip, the ones of the next angel on the right and on the left. Father had sent one of His legions of angels to guard the tent.
Perhaps not another person in the tent saw the vision of this great shining band of angels, yet everyone inside and out must have sensed the presence of the divine, for not only did a great peace steal over my soul, but the whole audience was hushed. When I opened my eyes I could only see the people looking with rapt attention, but closing my eyes again I could see the angels just as plainly as I could see the people. (This is That, pp 764-765)
In The Bridal Call Foursquare, edited by Aimée Semple McPherson, September, 1926, in a sermon of hers entitled Rebekah at the Well, she gave utterance to sentiments that were certainly not the product of the Spirit of God. We dislike to reproduce the highly irreverent strain, bordering on blasphemy, but it is necessary to let the reader know exactly what this movement is, and certainly the woman, who has such a prominent place in the movement, is one who is characteristic of it.
The ecstatic, egotistical, irreverent exuberance that gave rise to the following remarks is certainly not of the Spirit of God. Would the Spirit of God speak of the blessed Lord in the way that Mrs. McPherson audaciously does? She said:
Oh! I love to think that we are the kin of God. It is lovely to have kin. I was an only child. I always wished that I might have a brother. Sometimes I used to think how wonderful it would be to have a big brother to take me to places. Mother would not let me go with very many people when I was a girl.
After I had come to know the Lord, when I came to this wonderful passage in the Bible and learned that Jesus was my big Brother, I cried:
Isn't that wonderful? I have a brother at last! Jesus Christ is my brother!
Then I began to thinkHow could that be?
Child,' the Lord explained, in order to have a brother, what must be your relationship?'
Why, Lord, to have a brother, we would both have to be of the same father.'
Think a minute, child. Who was my mother?
Why, Lord, your mother was humanity. You were born of the Virgin Mary.'
And who was my father?'
Lord, your father was God in Heaven.'
Now, child, who is your mother?'
Humanity. I am born of the race of the world.'
Who is your father?'
O Lord!' I cried, as the light came, when I was born again my Father was God! We are brother and sister, Lord! Hallelujah! You are my Brother!'
It is with no pleasure that we reproduce these extracts. It is painful to have to do so. But this is the sort of thing that goes down with the unthinking crowd. This is what the movement in this country, connected with the name of Principal Jeffreys and the Foursquare Gospel, is linked up with when they invited her over to this country and advertised her as
The World's Greatest Woman Preacher.
The movement in this country has not gone to the lengths of the dramatic and spectacular that Mrs. McPherson adopts, but we solemnly believe that their claims to a special infilling of the Spirit of God with Pentecostal gifts of healing and tongues are a deception, and that their movement constitutes a latter-day delusion of Satan.
We set out to place their teaching alongside that of the Scriptures, and we have found a wide divergence between the two. We set out to see if the TEACHING of Scripture and the FACTS of this movement agree, and we have found most emphatically that they do not. On these counts we are bound to come to the conclusion that their claim to a special infilling of the Spirit of God is false. If so what spirit is at work? The answer is most serious.
They may ask, Have we not prophesied in the name of the Lord? Have we not cast out devils? Have we not done many wonderful works in the name of the Lord?
We would reply, in the words of the Lord Himself,
Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt. 7:21-23)
We are assured that there will be an aftermath of confusion and sorrow wherever this pretension gets a footing. We know personally earnest, devoted Christians, who have been caught by it. May they be delivered. Painful as the writing of this exposure has been, we shall be well repaid, if it opens the eyes of any and is used to their deliverance, or if it warns those, who are likely to be attracted by it, and acts as a deterrent.
We are assured that many are deceived by it, and sincerely believe that the work is of the Spirit of God. Such may pity us in our belief that the movement is not of the Spirit of God. The matter is simple. Put it to the following four tests:
(1) Are its teachings those of the Scriptures?
(2) Are its FACTS in consonance with the TEACHING of Scripture?
(3) Let a few Christians of repute, among them Christian doctors of standing, examine into the supposed cases of healing twelve months after they have claimed to have been performed.
(4) Let a few Christian linguists examine into the Tongues Movement.
Will the believers in this system be ready to take up this challenge?
But we have seen that the answers to Nos. 1 and 2 are in the negative, and that in a very pronounced fashion, that the claims to healing have been exposed as fraudulent again and again, and that the Tongues are mainly gibberish. What conclusion can we then come to?
We have refrained from going into the story of Mrs. McPherson's supposed drowning, the gathering of a memorial fund of about 40,000 dollars, or over £8,000 by her mother, which has not been returned, though she was not drowned; of her alleged kidnapping and escape, and the grave doubts that there is any truth in her story. She is charged with having bribed the High Court judge and others to pervert judgment. The case is being re-opened, and it may well be that there may be very dramatic exposures that will shake the Pentecostalist system to its centre.
We could have given much more testimony as to all this. There was no lack of material, but we had to keep the pamphlet within bounds as to size.
May God graciously bless people at this time.